There is a high demand for assistive technology for mobility that includes wheelchairs, walking devices and other aids. Patients or older adults who find it difficult to walk around or do their daily activities use one of these devices to make life simple.  However, a wheelchair is sometimes not a complete solution for mobility. Most of the time, the patient requires a helping hand from someone to be able to use the device.  Assistance to push the chair, help getting on or off the bed, support using the bathroom or support doing other things to get around is inevitable. With an increasing number in the aging population and fewer caregivers, assistance may not be available all the time.  In this scenario, there is a significant need for improved assistive devices.

In the wake of providing better patient care, manual wheelchairs have improved over time. Wheelchairs with a one-size-fits-all approach have become specialized to cater to individual needs. Nowadays, custom-fit, lightweight wheelchairs are in high demand enabling a more active lifestyle.

Several technologies – such as biomechanics, materials science, electronics, mechanical design, and robotics come together to design advanced wheelchairs that allow patients to perform independently.  These wheelchairs provide the individual with improved mobility, more independence and a better lifestyle experience.  Many patients and older individuals who may feel trapped by past wheelchair designs can do most of their daily activities independently with a mobility device that has better, more advanced features.

People with disabilities or other mobility issues prefer powered wheelchairs that increase their functionality and independence.  These wheelchairs provide a better degree of freedom while ensuring comfort and convenience for the user.  Powered wheelchairs with reclining seats are great for user comfort.  These wheelchairs are adjustable and can be controlled without assistance.  Even though these wheelchairs are suitable for most people with severe disability or mobility issues, they are not recommended for use by individuals with cognitive issues.

Wheelchairs equipped with STS or Sit-to-Stand functions are even more advanced. Sit-to-Stand is one of the most fundamental aspects of one’s daily routine.  However, wheelchair bound individuals face difficulty with this action every day.  Also, sitting for prolonged hours has its own health risks but wheelchairs with hip-up or STS functions make life easier for wheelchair bound individuals.  Currently, there are several STS models on the market with controls that allow patients posture adjustments and some muscle movement.

Research is still on going to come up with even better versions of mobility aids for a better and more independent life for those with mobility issues and severe disabilities.

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