There have always been people who had difficulty getting around. Whether it is the result of a spinal injury, a stroke, or a chronic condition, reduced functionality of the legs is a very common situation.
For many years, the standard wheelchair was the solution, a way that these persons could move from place to place fairly effectively and sometimes without assistance.
In time, though, it became clear that innovation was needed. Many of the people who couldn't use their legs well enough to walk were also unable to use their arms well enough to move a wheelchair themselves. Those who could might have lacked the stamina to do so over long distances or up steep slopes. In addition, the chairs themselves were very challenging to maneuver in close space and to transport in a car.
These reasons and many others have driven the development of many different mobility products that are permitting their users to live more comfortable and more enjoyable lives. The creativity of product developers has been amazing, and the market is thriving. Just check out a few of their innovations.
What do you do when you need some help getting around but can't deal with a heavy powerchair? The answer used to be that you either didn't participate in strenuous activities or you imposed on friends and family to help you with your chair, but there are better options now.
A lightweight powerchair can get the best of all worlds. It is powerful enough to transport you, yet light enough that you can easily lift it. It's also compact enough to store in a vehicle without undue hassle.
One of the most frustrating things for persons with paralysis or amputations is that the condition limits what their healthy body parts are able to do. This is especially hard for people who were active in sports prior to their injury or illness. Responding to this need, the market has developed lightweight, high-performance wheelchairs.
These devices go far beyond the familiar implements found in hospitals. They are smaller, lighter, and easier to fold and store than traditional chairs. They are also designed for stability, with angled wheels that reduce the risk of overturns. These lean, mean chairs allow their users to participate in activities from racing to basketball, without a bulky chair that slows movement or risks a painful spill.
Some wheelchair users have such extensive paralysis that their ability even to operate their wheelchair is limited. There was never a way for them to go anywhere without assistance until recent years.
In addition to power wheelchairs operated by joysticks and "suck-and-blow" devices, there are actually chairs now that can detect obstructions and operate themselves toward a programmed destination. This dramatically reduces the physical requirements of operating the chair and makes it easier for the user to be more independent.
With so many reasons for reduced mobility, it's no surprise that the market has responded by providing wheelchairs and other mobility aids that can be more closely matched to the needs of their users. These innovative products are doing more every day to help people retain their independence, happiness, and health even in the face of a condition that may be incurable.