What mobility aids can help people with severe obesity?
26 percent of adults in the UK are obese and the prevalence of obesity is highest in the 55 to 74 age group. Obesity is a condition that is both complex and chronic. It has many causes and is not simply a result of overeating. Research shows that genetics have a significant influence on body weight, especially in the case of severe or morbid obesity.
Using mobility aids to live life to the full
Diet and exercise programmes can be highly effective in tackling obesity, but of course, they do not work overnight, and it can take weeks and months to see any significant effect. In the meantime, mobility aids can be invaluable to stay mobile. This helps towards fitness goals, even if it means taking a set number of steps each day, but also contributes towards an improved quality of life, maintaining independence and reducing the risk of slips and falls.
Choosing the right mobility aids
If you are living with extreme obesity you might worry that mobility aids are not for you due to maximum weight limits or their dimensions. Don’t worry, there are mobility aids of every type that are specifically designed to accommodate larger and heavier individuals. Here are some examples.
Bariatric walking canes – these are similar to regular walking canes, but made of sturdy material and designed to support individuals with higher body weights. They are usually curved so that the shaft of the stick is directly below the user, to provide optimum stability and balance.
- Big Base Quad Cane - with curved shaft for greater support
Bariatric walkers / rollators – being big and tall can make walking more difficult, and these are stronger and sturdier than standard lightweight walkers and have a wider frame. Larger users will appreciate the extra stability and comfort that they offer. Reinforced components ensure that weight is not an issue, with a maxumum user weight of 204kg (32 stone).
Rollators are extremely handy for those who cherish their independence, helping people get out park or to look around the shops, secure in the knowledge that they can sit down for a rest at any time. Like walkers, rollators are available in larger and more sturdy forms that are designed for obese users.
Bariatric wheelchairs – these have larger seats for plus size individuals, sturdier frames and stiffer suspension to make them suitable for larger and heavier users. Choose from either a transport chair, which is pushed by an attendant, or a self-propelled chair which can also be operated by hand. Both have capacities of 203kg (32 stone).
Mobility scooters – thousands of people have rediscovered freedom and independence thanks to their trusty mobility scooters! If you have severe obesity, that doesn’t have to stop you from joining them. Our road scooters can carry much more weight than smaller travel scooters, and also have larger seats and stiffer suspension, while still offering complete freedom with a range of more than 20 miles between charges.
Other helpful gadgets and accessories
There’s more to assisting with mobility than mobility aids that get you from A to B. Moving around the house in safety to carry out day to day tasks is another type of mobility that can throw up challenges to your independence when you have severe obesity to deal with. But again, help is at hand in the shape of the following aids and gadgets.
Transfer aids – nothing is more natural than sitting down and standing up. But if lowering yourself into a chair is a leap of faith and standing up is a mission that needs thought and planning, it is no fun. Transfer aids make life so much easier. The Orbital Transfer Platform supports users up to 35 stone.
Bariatric shower chairs – the bathroom is a hazardous location in terms of slips and falls. A shower bench for plus size people makes it easier to take care of personal hygiene needs in safety, comfort and dignity. Bariatric shower chairs are larger than standard ones and have higher weight capacities. The Vuela Folding Seat is a wall mounted shower seat that supports up to 31st 6lbs.
Bedside commodes – again, a bariatric commode has a larger seat than standard and is reinforced to support greater weight. Ideal for anyone who has difficulty using a standard toilet. Our Mobile Commode supports users up to 25 stone.
Power lift recliners – another solution for those who find it a challenge to sit in a regular chair and get back up, a riser recliner helps the user to sit and to get back into a standing position, relieving strain from the knees and wrists, and reducing the risk of a fall. See our guide on Large Riser Recliners For Heavy People - Bariatric Chairs for more advice on mobility aids for standing up.
Mobility aids are just part of the mix
We said earlier that severe obesity is a condition that can be managed and improved over time with dietary measures and an appropriate fitness regime.
Mobility aids can help along the way by making it easier to get around, and to stay independent and safe.
But it is important to consider all parts of the mix, and that means staying in regular contact with healthcare professionals such as your GP and physiotherapist.
They will also be in a position to advise on which of the mobility aids we have discussed will be most appropriate for your circumstances, so make sure they are part of the conversation while you are making your choice.