<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1660977404188157&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Support the Kendal at Home Mission. Donate
December 11, 2023

Seven (7) Best Mobility Aids for Older Adults

"Maintaining your mobility—the ability to move easily around your home and neighborhood, stay connected to your loved ones, and remain engaged in the world—can safeguard your independence." — Dr. Scott Martin, associate professor of orthopedics at Harvard Medical School and medical editor of the Special Health Report Mobility and Independence


According to The Gerontologist [1], mobility is crucial to older adults, as it helps them maintain their physical and psychological health. However, not every older adult can enjoy this flexibility, dynamism, and independence.


For example, about a third to a half of people who are at least 65 years old say they have some difficulties when walking or climbing stairs.


Fortunately, many assistive devices can help you remain mobile. These are typically simple tools that can help you recover from injuries or surgeries or as you deal with balance issues and arthritis, among other conditions.


Sometimes these are temporary aids; other times, they will be integrated into your daily life.


The Best Mobility Aids for Seniors

If you or a loved one are finding it challenging to move around and need a little extra support to get a feel for the amazing world around you, here are some of the best mobility aids to use:


1. Walking Poles or Walking Sticks

Walking poles, also known as trekking poles or hiking poles, consist of elongated shafts with handles at the top and pointed tips at the bottom. They are lightweight materials and made with materials like aluminum or carbon fiber.


Walking poles can be adjusted in length to suit your height and preference. Some walking poles have additional features like shock absorption systems or ergonomic grips for added comfort. They offer excellent mobility for seniors who still have a decent level of dexterity.


Walking poles provide added stability and balance, joint protection, increased endurance, enhanced posture, and uphill/downhill assistance when you need to use the stairs. 


To use walking poles effectively, adjust them to a comfortable height, ensuring the arms are at a 90-degree angle when holding the grips. Start with a slow and steady pace, planting the poles slightly ahead of you with each step. As you gain confidence, you can adjust your technique to match your walking style and terrain.


2. Canes

Canes are a popular and widely used mobility aid for older adults, designed to provide support and stability. They offer numerous benefits for seniors experiencing balance issues or difficulty walking.


Canes come in a variety of styles, shapes, and designs, including the more typical ones with curved or T-shaped grab bars to accommodate different needs and preferences. The most common type of cane is the single-point cane, which features a single tip at the bottom.


However, there are also quad canes available, which have a four-point base for increased stability.

Canes offer stability and support while navigating uneven surfaces, stairs, or crowded areas. They help with fall prevention and provide a sense of security, allowing older adults to maintain their independence and participate in daily activities.


When choosing the right cane for you, it is important to consider factors such as height adjustability, handle comfort, and weight capacity. Ergonomically designed handles, such as foam or cushioned grips, can provide added comfort and reduce strain on the hands and wrists.


3. Crutches

Crutches are typically constructed from lightweight materials, such as aluminum or carbon fiber, to minimize strain on the user. They consist of two main components: the upper part, known as the handle or grip, and the lower part, called the crutch tip. Crutch tips are usually made of rubber or rubberized materials to enhance traction and prevent slipping.


There are different types of crutches available, each designed to accommodate specific needs and conditions, including:

  • Underarm Crutches feature padded supports that fit under the arms, providing stability and weight distribution.

  • Forearm Crutches have cuffs that encircle the forearms, allowing users to bear weight on their arms rather than the underarms.

Crutches help with weight redistribution, enhanced stability, independence and mobility, and rehabilitation aid. They're the perfect walking aid for older adults with long-term mobility challenges.


When selecting crutches, consider factors such as height adjustability, handle comfort, and weight. Proper fit is important to ensure optimal support and prevent discomfort or further injury.


4. Walkers and Rollators

Walkers are a good mobility device if you need significant support. Because a walker alters your gait considerably, consult with your doctor on how to choose one and how to learn to use it.


Walkers consist of a sturdy frame with four legs and handles, providing a stable base of support. They are also made from lightweight materials such as aluminum, making them easy to maneuver while maintaining durability. They feature adjustable height settings to accommodate users of varying heights.


There are different types of walkers:

  • Standard Walker has a basic frame with four legs and non-wheeled tips. They offer maximum stability and are suitable for individuals with significant balance or mobility challenges.

  • Wheeled Walker or two-wheeled walkers feature two front legs with wheels, making it easier to move the walker forward without lifting it entirely off the ground.

  • A Four-Wheeled Walker or Rollator Walker is a walker with a seat, equipped with four wheels and handlebars. They often include handbrakes for added safety and an under-seat basket or pouch for storage. Rollators are ideal for individuals who require frequent breaks or prefer more versatile mobility equipment.

Walkers offer several advantages for older adults with limited mobility, including stability and support, enhanced mobility, improved posture and body mechanics, convenience, and versatility.


When choosing a walker, it is essential to consider factors such as height adjustability, weight capacity, and additional features like wheels or seats.


5. Power Scooters

Power scooters are a popular mobility aid that offers increased independence and mobility. Mobility scooters are battery-operated devices designed for seniors with limited mobility. They feature a seat, backrest, handlebars, or a tiller, a platform for foot placement, and a battery-powered motor to propel the scooter forward.


Power scooters typically have controls that allow users to adjust speed and direction, and are great for older adults and people with mobility issues who can't walk long distances.


They'll help you enjoy increased independence, greater stability, comfort and convenience, safety, and versatility. They're some of the best mobility devices for seniors with limited upper body strength.


Long battery life, maneuverability, weight capacity, and stability are crucial features to look for before buying a power scooter. Ensure to accurately assess your specific mobility needs and consult with healthcare professionals or mobility specialists to determine the most suitable scooter.


6. Manual Wheelchairs and Transport Chairs

Manual wheelchairs are self-propelled by the user using their upper body strength, typically through the use of large rear wheels. They feature a sturdy frame, a seat, and footrests, with some models offering adjustable components to accommodate individual needs. These are available as folding wheelchairs, rigid wheelchairs, and lightweight wheelchairs.


Transport chairs are lightweight and designed to be pushed by a caregiver or companion. They often have smaller wheels compared to manual wheelchairs, making them more maneuverable in tight spaces. Transport chairs are typically foldable, compact, and easy to transport, making them suitable for occasional use or travel.


Transport chairs and manual wheelchairs ease up senior mobility and provide several other benefits. They're more affordable than power wheelchairs and scooters and help seniors move around without too much effort.


7. Power Wheelchairs

Power wheelchairs are advanced mobility devices powered by batteries and controlled through a joystick or other control mechanisms to enhance mobility, accessibility, and quality of life for older adults who need to move around more. They're some of the most common mobility solutions for seniors who need to move about.


Power wheelchairs are available in various configurations, including rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, and mid-wheel drive, each offering distinct advantages and maneuverability. They are designed to accommodate different body types, with adjustable seating options and supportive features such as headrests, armrests, ramps, and leg rests.


Maintaining Mobility

A 2014 study indicated moderate physical activity [2], participated in daily, “may mean the difference between seniors being able to keep up everyday activities or becoming housebound.”


More specifically, adults who participated in moderate activity showed an 18 percent higher rate of mobility — especially impressive since this study looked at “frail” older adults. Moderate activity also helped prevent people from losing mobility.


Then, in 2016, Yale News reported a new study on mobility and independence that indicates how, by “adopting a walking routine and other moderate physical activities, older adults can recover from a major disability more quickly, and maintain their independence over time. [3]”


This study was the longest and largest physical activity study for older adults to date. Participants were “less likely to experience disability in the first place, more likely to recover if they did suffer a disability, and less likely to have a subsequent episode,” according to researchers.


Choosing the Right Mobility Devices for Seniors?

Before choosing a mobility device, you must first assess and understand your specific need, mobility challenge, dependence level, and more. For example, you must understand your upper body strength to determine whether you need a manual or power wheelchair. 


Also, you may want to consider home assessment before choosing devices with wheels. Unless you go through every day without having to climb stairs and hills, devices like scooters for seniors may not be a great option. In such situations, rolling walkers come in handy.


You must also consider factors such as budget and insurance constraints, maneuverability and portability, user training and support, comfort and fit, safety and stability, and environmental considerations.


Start Your Journey to a Comfortable, Independent, and Peaceful Aging With Kendal At Home

Kendal At Home is an aging-in-place company dedicated to ensuring you achieve a fulfilled adult life. We understand how important it is for you to lead a life free from over-dependence on family and the feeling that you're becoming a burden to your loved ones as you age and can't handle all your tasks by yourself. 


We also understand that aging comes with physical and psychological health challenges that require immediate and effective attention.


That is why we're here to assist you with aging in place by offering three main senior care services:

  • Care Management
  • Planning for Healthy Aging
  • Care Coverage

You can learn more about how we can help you lead a happier older adult life by speaking with our membership advisor today.

Healthy aging is hard on your own. Kendal at Home can help you age well and enjoy your retirement.

Register for a Seminar to Learn More


Subscribe to our blog and have articles

sent directly to your inbox.