How to Get Mobility Aid For You or a Loved One
There are many reasons why our mobility might be affected, including old age, a disability or a temporary injury. Whatever the reason, it can be difficult and distressing if you or a loved one are finding it hard to move around, but luckily there are solutions which can help.
Mobility aids offer a lifeline for many people struggling with mobility issues and they help individuals to retain their independence and move in comfort and safety. There are a variety of different mobility aids to choose from too, including wheelchairs, mobility scooters and walking aids. Choosing the right mobility aid is the first step, but how do you start the process of getting the equipment? In some cases, your local authority has a duty of care to provide you with the equipment and aids you need and you may be eligible for fully or partly funded mobility aids. There are other options too, including second hand mobility aids for those on a budget. If you’re looking to secure mobility equipment for you or a loved one to make life easier, read on for our handy guide.
Organising a needs assessment
If you think that you or a loved one could benefit from mobility equipment or adaptations to help you live more safely and comfortably, you can apply for a needs assessment. You’ll need to contact the social services department of your local council to request a home assessment. They will then send an occupational therapist to your home to see which equipment or adaptations you might benefit from.
If the assessment finds that you need an adaptation for your home or a piece of equipment costing less than £1,000, then your local council must provide it for free. Types of adaptations and equipment that you may be eligible for include:
- Grab rails for the bathroom
- Handrails on the stairs
- Interior or exterior ramps for wheelchair access
- A walking frame.
Can I get mobility aids on the NHS?
In some cases, yes. You can borrow a walking frame from the NHS; these offer more support than a walking stick and can help people move around more easily. You’ll need to speak to your GP, physiotherapist or staff at the hospital and they’ll be able to help refer you for a frame. You may need to pay a deposit to borrow the frame but this will be returned when you give back the equipment. Walking frames can be used both indoors or outdoors and some come with additional extras, like a seat or basket.
You may also be eligible for a wheelchair through the NHS. Your GP, physiotherapist or hospital staff will first need to refer you for a wheelchair assessment to get a better idea of your needs. Your local wheelchair service will then decide if you qualify for a wheelchair, and if so, what type. If you’re not eligible for a wheelchair fully funded by the NHS, you may be given a voucher which can be used towards the cost of purchasing your own chair.
Mobility scooters are not generally available on the NHS, but there are affordable ways to get one if you’re on a budget, which we will discuss later on.
Grants for mobility equipment
A grant is a financial contribution which does not have to be repaid and they’re often given by charities or trusts. There are several different types of grant available for those with disabilities or mobility needs but access to funds will depend on several factors, including your specific needs and where you live.
Grants are available for a range of equipment including wheelchairs, mobility scooters and home adaptations, but each case is treated on an individual basis. You can find a wealth of information about disability grants and how to apply on the Disability Grants website.
You may also be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant from the government. This can cover the cost of any changes that need to be made to your home, such as widening doorways, adding a stairlift or installing wheelchair ramps. The amount you receive will depend on your income and needs but grants in England can be up to £30,000. You’ll need to apply for a grant through your local council, as you would for a needs assessment.
Buying second hand
If you’re worried about the cost of mobility equipment, consider buying second hand. There’s a range of high quality second hand aids available, including mobility scooters, wheelchairs, stairlifts and walking aids.
Mobility scooters are often the most common type of equipment purchased second hand as there tends to be less NHS funding available. There’s a lucrative market for second hand mobility scooters sold by both shops and private sellers but it’s important to make sure that you’re getting a good deal. If you’re buying second hand from a shop, it’s likely that the scooter will have a shorter warranty compared to a new model (e.g a few months instead of a year). It’s also a good idea to ask for a full service history to save you from buying a scooter with lots of issues.
You might be able to bag a bargain if you buy from a private seller, but you’ll need to make sure you get the full picture before parting with your cash. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller about why they’re selling, as well as the maintenance schedule for the scooter. They should also be able to provide you with the original paperwork and instruction manual. It’s also a good idea to check the vehicle number against the manufacturer’s database. This will tell you how old the scooter is and whether spare parts are still available.
First, you’ll need to consider whether you want a manual or electric wheelchair, but both types can be easily found second hand. Many manual wheelchairs are customised to suit an individual’s size, so bear this in mind when choosing second hand chairs. You might not be able to find a model that’s tailor made to your measurements, but it’s likely that you’ll find something pretty close.
If you’re looking for an electric wheelchair, you can find second hand options for as little as a tenth of the price of a new chair. As with mobility scooters, the warranty will be more limited (usually around three months). Follow the same advice for mobility scooters listed above and don’t be afraid to ask about the chair’s service history or any prior repairs. Many used chairs have already been refurbished but it’s still important to gain a thorough knowledge of any potential issues. It’s also vital to try out any wheelchair before you buy to make sure it’s comfortable and easy to manoeuvre. Test out the chair indoors and outdoors if possible to make sure you’re completely happy before making a purchase.
Some mobility equipment is also available for loan or hire if you want to try it out before parting with your cash. Simply search for ‘mobility equipment for hire’ to find suppliers in your local area.
Reliable mobility aids in the South West – from the experts at Euro Lifts
If you’re looking for high quality, reliable mobility aids for you or a loved one, get in touch with the professionals at Euro Lifts. We’re proud to supply a range of mobility aids to make your day to day life easier, safer and more comfortable. Our aids are hand picked from the finest manufacturers and include wheelchairs, walking frames, crutches, walking sticks and more. Our friendly staff are highly knowledgeable when it comes to mobility needs, so they’re on hand to help you choose the most suitable equipment for you.
If you want to improve the accessibility of your home, we’re also on hand to install a range of stair lifts and wheelchair lifts. We supply a wide range of both new and used lifts to suit every budget and we can custom design a lift to fit your exact requirements. If you’re having problems with your equipment, not to worry, we offer full maintenance and repair services, as well as 24/7 emergency breakdown cover for your peace of mind. For more information about any of our mobility aids or to discuss your needs, don’t hesitate to give us a call today or contact us via our website.