In the past two decades, the world has seen technological advancements like never before. These advancements are aimed to make life easier for individuals with a huge increase in the medical field from helping with mobility to finding a cure for numerous diseases.
The great thing about technology is that it rapidly advances. When it comes to mobility for physically impaired seniors, we have seen a vast amount of new technology in the past decade. While most serve as aid with mobility, some actually work to help physically impaired seniors to become mobile on their own.
For mobility-impaired seniors living in a home with multiple levels, going up and down the stairs can be the most difficult part of their day. Whether it is joint pains or just the fact that they can’t climb on their own, living in their own home can be a nightmare. The simplest solution to this problem is to have stair lifts for elderly persons installed. The stair lift eliminates the need for any exertion from the senior as they can comfortably sit and go up and down the stairs.
The iBot Wheelchair
The iBot is more than just your average wheelchair. While it serves as a traditional powered wheelchair and helps you navigate from one place to another it has a unique feature to self-balance and also climbs stairs! The self-balancing technology in this wheelchair eliminates the need for you to ask someone to help carry you and your wheelchair up the stairs. But of course, this technology may seem a little more hazardous for the home for impaired seniors than stair lifts due to the possibility of the wheels being too big for the stairs or accidentally slipping for one reason or the other. No one wants to fall down a flight of stairs.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Yes, we’re talking about virtual reality, and here’s why. There are numerous studies underway to see how VR can help mobility-impaired seniors and other paraplegic patients. One such research was conducted by Duke University using VR headsets paired with brain-controlled devices that helped simulate the process of walking for patients. The research found that with the help of VR the brain is stimulated and so are the feelings in the legs which can help regain some ability to walk for mobility-impaired seniors and paraplegic patients.
Wouldn’t it be easy for mobility-impaired seniors to just put a pair of trousers on and be able to walk? Well, researchers at Bristol University are working on robotic trousers that may just do that. The trousers feature artificial muscles that serve as a rehabilitative device but can, of course, be used as an aid for mobility. They are lightweight and will eliminate the need for other assistive devices such as a walking cane. While this technology is a prototype and still in the development phase, there are still numerous technologies for those restricted by mobility on the market.
In the past decade, research has constantly focused on using electrical stimulation to stimulate the spinal cord or parts of the lower back to help mobility-impaired individuals to walk again. In 2018, a team at the University of Louisville implanted a device in the lower back of paraplegic patients that used electrical stimulation sending signals to the brain from the spinal cord to excite the effected leg muscles. The device has already helped two paraplegic patients walk again. While the implant is still in the research phase, it can eventually help seniors that can’t walk, to walk again.
As each year goes by, more and more scientific and technological breakthroughs occur. Even this is such a small list of technological advancements that are helping mobility-impaired seniors to walk, climb, and access places that they couldn’t before.
Natasha is a firm believer in health and wellness for all ages. Having been a family caregiver for her grandmother, she knows what it’s like to go through family trials and tribulations. She is currently a blogger who wants to aid others in understanding the tips of healthy and safe aging that she has come across with her own personal experiences as well as through deep research on the topic.