What are Mobility Aids?

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  • Written By: C. Stoliecki
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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Mobility aids are devices that are used to facilitate the physical movement of a person from one place to another place in the event that they are unable to do so without assistance. Some of these apparatuses are designed for the immobile individual to use. For instance, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, motorized scooters and stationary poles for people to grasp are mobility aids designed to help an individual walk or get into and out of a seated position without assistance from another person. Other mobility aids are made for a health care professional to use when they require assistance moving an immobile individual from one position to another. These include devices such as transfer boards, which are used to support the weight of an individual as they are transferred from one location to another.

Individuals that have been injured or suffer from a disability often require assistance in order to walk. Many mobility aids facilitate walking. Crutches, for instance, can be used to help a person walk in the event that an injured leg or foot prevents normal walking. Walkers are generally light metal frames that provide support to those lacking the balance or strength to walk freely. These devices can be pushed along the floor or lifted and moved forward.


In some cases, patients are unable to walk even with assistance. To help these patients move about, mobility aids such as wheelchairs and motorized scooters can be used. There are several different types of wheelchairs. Some wheelchairs are manual, which are physically moved forward by the user, and some are motorized. Often motorized wheelchairs are steered by a joystick and are suitable for use both indoors and outdoors.

Motorized scooters are another mobility aid that individuals can utilize to move about indoors as well as outdoors. Generally, these scooters are motorized and controlled with a handlebar system and many are suitable for use both on- and off-road. These devices can have three or four wheels.

Many individuals require the assistance of a mobility aid to get into a standing or sitting position. Handles or poles can be attached near places where these individuals often need to move into these positions. For example, a handle can be attached to the side of the bathtub. An individual can use the handle to lift himself or herself into a standing position. The individual can also use it for balance when lowering him- or herself into the tub.

Health care professionals often find the use of mobility aids necessary. Transfer boards are particularly common. For instance, transfer boards known as backboards are used to help emergency medical personnel move an individual who has injured his or her back.


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