How to Stay On the Go When Arthritis Pain Strikes
Bette Davis once said, “Old age is no place for sissies.” This is especially true when facing all the downsides to growing older, like problems with memory, hearing, and vision, or losing mobility due to things like arthritis or sciatic nerve damage.
Take for instance osteoarthritis, a condition that breaks down the cartilage in joints. Without the cushioned support of the cartilage, bones rub together which causes pain, stiffness, and in some more severe cases complete loss of movement.
While arthritis affects various areas of the body, it is most commonly associated with the hands, fingers, hips, and knees. But many do not realize that arthritis can also affect the shoulders, neck, wrists, elbows, ankles and feet. Symptoms frequently associated with arthritis include:
- Chronic pain in the area of joints where arthritis is present
- Fatigue (chronic) that goes beyond normal levels of tired or sleepiness
- Inflamed joints indicated by redness, tenderness, or swelling
The easiest two ways to combat the effects of arthritis are to lose weight and avoid placing stress on the affected areas. Even people in good health can find their mobility hindered by the painful symptoms associated with arthritis, though.
Moving Forward When Arthritis Sets You Back
My grandfather is an avid collector of model trains. Every year he attends a local convention where he meets up with enthusiasts from around the globe. In the recent past, his arthritis forced him to use a cane, and last year he resorted to using a walker.
This year he nearly missed it because the swelling in his knees and ankles causes pain and stiffness that prevent him from getting out and about like he did in his younger days. Finally his children convinced him to invest in a mobility scooter.
He was not only able to go to the convention, but now my grandfather goes everywhere from the grocery store on Monday mornings to the local VFW building for Thursday afternoon bingo.
In fact, he leads a more active social life than most of his children and grandchildren! While we were once worried about the risk of depression from his sitting home day in and day out, the mobility scooter has returned to the spring to his step, figuratively speaking of course.
The 5 A’s of Alternative Transportation
When looking at investing in an alternative transportation mode, like a mobility scooter, it is important to do your homework. Buying the wrong one can hinder the lifestyle of the person who will be using it, either through financial or technological reasons.
According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute there are five important components to look for in finding alternative transportation for someone who has lost their mobility. They are:
- Availability – How soon is the scooter available once you purchase it?
- Accessibility – Will the scooter fit through doorways in your home? And how will you manage things like the three stairs going up to the front porch?
- Acceptability – Make sure the person who will be using the scooter accepts the fact that this is a way to enhance their life, not to make them feel handicapped.
- Adaptability – When the entire family is on board with the decision, it will help the person who will be using the scooter adapt to the idea of it.
- Affordability – Make sure this is something you can afford. If you only need a scooter for short-term use, consider a refurbished model.
A Scooter to Solve Nearly Every Mobility Problem
There is a broad range of mobility scooters available to fit the needs of almost any person who faces limited range of motion. Once a doctor determines that the person using it is healthy enough to consider a scooter, then it is a matter of just choosing the right one.
For example, there are some scooters with 3 wheels that are perfect for indoor use and others with 4 wheels that are more stable for outdoor use. There are even Two Person Mobility Scooters for couples who prefer to ride together. You can find many valuable reviews on two seat mobility scooters online, be sure to do your research before you purchase.
And finally, make sure you know how you will transport the scooter to and from various locations, like the grocery store, church, or family events. Some mobility scooter companies offer accessories like ramps, repair services, and telephone support that helps ease the transition for using the scooter as well.