Cookies at Which? We use cookies to help improve our sites. If you continue, we'll assume that you're happy to accept our cookies. Find out more about cookies

Have you noticed that your relative seems to be less mobile recently, or maybe they have hinted at this themselves? If this is the case, find out more about mobility aids here.

Common mobility problems

Older age affects muscle strength, joint flexibility and stamina. If this is combined with aches and pains, as well as fatigue and potential other medical conditions, it is likely that your relative will experience difficulty with:

  • steps, stairs and inclines
  • uneven ground or loose surfaces
  • walking long distances.

Under these circumstances, your relative might well benefit from more awareness of stair safety and the support of a mobility aid, such as a walking stick, walking frame or even a mobility scooter.

The installation of grab rails around the home to support those with balance or mobility issues might also be helpful.

Getting a mobility needs assessment

As well as investigating the options for mobility aids, it is worth getting an assessment for mobility equipment needs by a physiotherapist, who may make recommendations for what kind of help your relative requires. These could include learning about certain mobility techniques (for example, how to move up and down the stairs) and exercises to help with strength and balance.

Appropriate footwear can also help with stability and support. Make sure that slippers around the home are supportive. It's best not to wear ones that you slip your feet into - instead there is a good range of 'bootee'-type slippers that have zip or Velcro fastening and non-slip soles. For outdoors wear, consider well-fitting supportive footwear with a low heel and non-slip soles.

More information

Page last reviewed: November 2016
Next review due: May 2018