Helping Seniors Find The Right Type Of Mobility Support

helping seniors find the right type of mobility support

Loss of strength, balance, and mobility are common age-related progressions, especially if seniors have underlying medical conditions. Finding the correct mobility support allows seniors to age more independently while prioritizing their health, safety, and wellbeing. Plus, once they get used to the extra help, senior mobility support helps them connect and engage with their community.

Proactive Mobility Support Prevents Injuries

First and foremost, seniors with the proper mobility support are less prone to accidents, which are a leading cause of hospitalization and surgeries in the 65+ community. And, there is a lot more to it than picking out a cane, walker, or wheelchair.

The more proactive you are at having options for mobility support handy and normalizing them, the more likely a loved one is to start using them.

Grab Bars, Shower Chairs, And Railings

Did you know the bathroom is considered the most dangerous room in the home? How often have you reached out to grab a towel bar in a bathroom due to fatigue, loss of balance, or illness-related weakness (a recipe for a fall since towel bars are not stable or anchored in wall studs)? We feel that accessible home design should be a building standard rather than something we have to design or augment at a certain stage of life.

One of the best ways you can optimize mobility in the home is to make it as accessible as possible, paying careful attention to the most common slip/fall areas: near the toilet, in the shower, up the stairs, along walkways, or inclines. Our post, Making a Senior Friendly Home, has invaluable tips on how to make a home more accessible, safe, and mobile for seniors. Tips include:

  • Updating indoor and outdoor lighting for motion/light sensors to optimize visibility
  • Installing grab bars near the toilet, bath/shower, etc.
  • Using a shower chair to minimize slip/fall risk in the bath and shower
  • Reducing trip hazards
  • Installing or reinforcing railings at all entry/exits and stairs/ramps
  • Building a ramp if stairs are required at main entrances

Making these changes keeps seniors safer in their own homes.

Schedule A Doctor’s Appointment

Some seniors are eager to embrace mobility support because they have experienced a scare or watched a peer suffer from a fall accident. Others have difficulty acknowledging they need help (sort of like the “handing in the keys” conversation). Bringing in an expert third party, such as your loved ones’ physician, may be the best launchpad for embarking on mobility conversations.

After a conversation and evaluating any mobility risks, learning more about which daily tasks are becoming riskier or more difficult, the physician typically issues a referral to an occupational therapist (OT). The OT will perform an initial assessment to begin. Their offices are already equipped with mobility support options that can be tried out, one by one, as you figure out which is the best option. 

Most seniors benefit from multiple options such as a cane to walk short distances in public, and a walker with a seat that can be used around the house for longer outings or times when a senior feels more tired or weak.

Mobility Support Requires Practice, Trial, And Error

Mobility supports come in all forms. Some have a single point of contact at the bottom, and others have a four-pronged end for greater stability. Some have wheels and also support walking, others are seated only. Most people are unaware that it takes practice to walk with a cane. The same is true for walkers and wheelchairs. 

This is why occupational therapists are such an integral part of the process. A senior who isn’t properly trained and who doesn’t have the space to practice and try different options is more likely to feel frustrated. Unfortunately, that means they don’t get the support they need. 

The most common forms of mobility support and their uses are:


Canes provide stability while standing or walking. Different canes have different grips and stabilizers at the bottom. The more unstable a person is on their feet, the more stable the base should be. Canes are recommended most often for those who have:


Today’s walkers are typically equipped with handbrakes, a seat, or even a basket, making them a universally helpful tool. In addition to stability while standing (in the locked position) or walking, walkers also provide a place for seniors to rest, scoot around, or transport things from one area to another.

Walkers are recommended for:

  • Arthritis pain in the knees and hips is more severe.
  • Moderate to severe balance problems or more serious issues with gait.
  • More generalized weakness in the knees, hips or legs.

We recommend clients have both a cane and a walker in most cases. Even if they don’t use the walker much, it’s good to have it on hand in case you need it, and they fold up easily when not in use.


Wheelchairs are never a bad idea to have on hand because anyone can be injured or fatigued to the point they need a bit more assistance getting around. They accommodate the most debilitating of weakness, fatigue, balance issues, or injuries. Today’s wheelchairs are light, compact, and easily folded to store in and out of a car trunk, behind a door, or in a closet.

Let HomeAide Home Care Help With Age-Related Support Needs

Mobility issues or any changes that inhibit a senior’s ability to accomplish day-to-day tasks are red flags that more support is neededHomeAide Home Care has spent the past few decades helping seniors age independently at home, using the compassionate support of our licensed caregivers. Contact us to schedule a consultation, and we can provide meaningful feedback to help you find the right type of mobility support for your loved one.

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