Reduced mobility can have a significant impact on people's lives. Physical limitations can lead to a loss of mobility, making activities like walking, climbing stairs, or driving challenging or impossible. Reduced mobility can cause feelings of frustration, dependency, and isolation. It may require individuals to rely on assistive devices, modifications to their living environment, and assistance from others. It can also impact their social interactions, access to public spaces, and participation in recreational activities.
Coping with reduced mobility often involves adapting to a new lifestyle, seeking support, and finding new ways to maintain independence and quality of life. In this post, we’ll be covering some of the ways you can adapt your lifestyle for yourself or someone in your life with reduced mobility, to ensure they have the best quality of life.
Transport And Getting Out
Transportation can be a major challenge for individuals with reduced mobility. They may face difficulties using traditional modes of transportation like buses, trains, or personal vehicles. Accessible transportation options such as paratransit services, wheelchair-accessible taxis, or specialised vans equipped with lifts or ramps can help address these challenges. However, availability and coverage may vary by location. In some cases, individuals may need to plan their trips in advance and schedule transportation services.
Additionally, advancements in ride-sharing services and the development of assistive technology for vehicles provide more inclusive transportation options for people with reduced mobility, improving their mobility and independence. Brands including Sunrise Medical and Pride produce high-quality power wheelchairs and mobility scooters to help you gain back independence and get out of the house as much as you want so your loss of mobility can’t hold you back.
Another useful tool to help increase independence is owning a wheelchair-accessible car. This will help to make it a lot easier to move from a mobility scooter or wheelchair to the car itself. There are a range of different vehicle makes that offer wheelchair accessibility, and you can work with the dealer to make sure the car is adapted to suit your individual needs.
Once there is the proper transportation for someone with reduced mobility, they will be able to take part in more leisure activities to boost their well-being and pursue their interests. There is a range of activities that those with reduced mobility to can take part in. For example, you could find out if any nearby groups offer adaptive sports activities such as wheelchair basketball, adaptive yoga, or video gaming groups.
Other hobbies that can be good to take up with reduced mobility include things such as reading groups, meditation classes, indoor gardening, or craft groups. You can find out more about local groups offering adaptive classes through your council or local support groups. You could also use social media to help you find local classes and learn more about leisure activities you might be interested in.
In The Kitchen
Adapting a kitchen for reduced mobility can greatly enhance independence and safety. To make your kitchen more accessible try these ideas:
- Consider lowering countertops and sinks to accommodate individuals in wheelchairs or with limited reach.
- Rearrange cabinets and drawers to ensure frequently used items are within reach, and use pull-out shelves or rotating trays for easier access.
- Replace traditional knobs with lever-style faucets and handles for easier operation.
- Install bright LED lighting and task lighting over work areas and inside cabinets.
- Choose slip-resistant flooring and consider using non-slip mats or rugs.
- Install grab bars near countertops, sinks, and stoves for added support.
- Consider using adaptive kitchen tools and utensils designed for individuals with reduced mobility.
- Position frequently used appliances at accessible heights or consider installing under-cabinet appliances.
- Additionally, consult with professionals specialising in accessibility to assess your specific needs and make appropriate modifications in your kitchen.
Bathroom aids and modifications are crucial for individuals with reduced mobility to enhance safety and independence. Here are some ideas for bathroom aids:
- Installing sturdy grab bars near the toilet, bath, and shower provides essential support and stability.
- Raised toilet seats make it easier to sit down and stand up, while shower benches or chairs allow for seated showering.
- Transfer benches enable safe entry and exit from the bathtub.
- Non-slip bath mats and strips prevent slipping.
- Handheld showerheads offer convenience during bathing.
- Toilet safety frames provide additional support, while bidets or handheld bidet sprayers improve hygiene.
- Anti-scald devices and proper lighting further enhance bathroom safety.
- Consider consulting healthcare professionals or occupational therapists for personalised recommendations based on your specific needs.
Around The Home
Adapting a home for reduced mobility involves making modifications to improve accessibility, safety, and comfort. Key areas to consider include entrances and exits with ramps or lifts, wide doorways, and non-slip flooring.
Install handrails and grab bars for support in staircases, door entries, outdoor steps and ramps, and bathrooms.
Ensure ample space and manoeuvrability in bedrooms and living areas.
Install bright lighting and consider smart home automation for convenience. This includes features such as smart heating, apps, and voice reignition for help with changing lighting or completing tasks.
Prepare for emergencies with accessible exits and communication devices.
Consulting professionals specialising in accessibility can provide personalised recommendations and ensure the appropriate modifications are made for reduced mobility.
Holidays And Travelling Abroad
When it comes to holidays and travelling abroad with reduced mobility, careful planning is essential. Research your destination thoroughly, looking for accessible accommodations, transportation options, and attractions.
Choose accommodations with accessible rooms and facilities. Prioritise airlines that offer assistance and accommodations for individuals with reduced mobility.
Pack necessary medical supplies and carry copies of medical documentation.
Seek out accessible attractions and sights, and contact them in advance for specific information.
Consider travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and equipment.
Connect with local disability organisations or support groups for additional resources and assistance.
Consulting healthcare professionals, travel agents, or accessibility experts can provide personalised advice for your specific needs. With proper planning, you can have a fulfilling and enjoyable travel experience while managing reduced mobility.
Exercise And Physical Therapy
Exercise and physical therapy are vital for individuals with reduced mobility to maintain mobility, improve strength, and enhance overall well-being. Before starting any exercise or physical therapy program, it is important to consult a healthcare professional, such as a physician or physical therapist, who can assess your needs and create a personalised plan.
Range of motion exercises helps maintain joint flexibility while strengthening exercises focus on the affected muscles. Balance and stability exercises reduce the risk of falls, and aerobic exercises improve cardiovascular health.
Assistive devices can provide support during exercises, and attending physical therapy sessions with a professional can guide you through tailored exercises and treatments.
Consider adaptive equipment and develop a home exercise program in collaboration with your physical therapist.
Progress gradually, listen to your body, and prioritise consistency to ensure safe and effective routines.
Emotional Support And Mental Wellbeing
Therapy can be invaluable for individuals living with a disability, providing vital support and guidance in navigating the emotional and psychological aspects of their experiences. Individual therapy offers a safe space to address emotional challenges, self-identity, and grief related to disability. Support groups and group therapy foster a sense of community and understanding with peers facing similar challenges.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps identify and challenge negative thoughts and behaviours, while acceptance and commitment therapy promotes acceptance and commitment to values-based actions. Rehabilitation counselling focuses on career planning and independent living skills, and occupational therapy provides strategies for daily living and maximising independence.
Online therapy offers flexibility for those with limited mobility, and finding a therapist experienced in working with reduced mobility can provide tailored support on the journey to thriving with a disability.