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By: tel-editors. Updated: January 18, 2021.

Do you (or someone you care about) use any mobility tech — like cars, or bicycles? Or canes, walkers, or rollators

The Longevity Explorers are exploring mobility tech. We are interested in the inputs of the broader Tech-enhanced Life community too.

Share what you know. Join the discussion.

 

Mobility Tech: What Is It?

Mobility Tech is for everyone. Think cars, or bicycles. But as we grow older we might want those things to be a bit different than when we were 20?

And then there are things like rollators, walkers, or canes that might not seem very "desirable", but which can be extremely important in preserving the ability to get around for some people. 

Have opinions or insights or questions about any of these types of products?

 

We want to add your inputs to the discussion.

Pick any of the products we mention above and tell us one of these things (by adding a comment below):

  • what features did you feel were especially important to you and why?
  • what did you learn that is important about the product category and which you want others to know about?
  • if you got a specific brand you either liked or disliked, tell us which brand, and why it was especially good or bad.
  • any questions you want answers to?

 

Why Do This?

We plan to build on your insights and do some additional research, and then summarize it all for the Tech-enhanced Life community.

Share your insights and questions so others can benefit, and not have to "reinvent the wheel".

 

Comments

 

from Paul Verchinski (unverified) at January 19, 2021

Cars have gone high tech. I call them now computers on wheels. I actually bought a new car in 2018 because of the safety features that were not on my 2013. (I usually keep my car until it is ready for the junk year). AARP has a course on safety features which I and my wife took. My new car has the following features; parking assist, lane keeping, blind spot warning, active cruise control, automatic braking, automatic high beam, Apple Car Play for my iPhone.

 

from Gisela L (unverified) at January 19, 2021

I have a problem with getting up in a bathtub, after taking a bath, which I love and don't want to give up. I live in an apartment and am 79. It has one of those plastic sourround walls, and only one little handle over the soap space. Idiotic. I have a sturdy handle that I screwed over the tub edge. The manager installed a grab bar just outside on the wall next to tub, which helps stepping out of tub in an upright position. I have a bad right knee. How to get from taking a bath upright, is my problem, due to knee. What has been invented for that?
Tank you,
G. Love

 

from Michael E (unverified) at January 19, 2021

Is there a rollator that has a gear or some kind of slow down mechanism so that it does not run away on the downhill. A brake does not do the job.

 

from Deb B (unverified) at January 21, 2021

The are two types of brakes for rollators - one is the kind you push down on, and that kind is either "on" or "off". Those wouldn't be any help for slowing on hills. The other kind of brakes are like the ones on a bike - you squeeze them, so that might work better for the hills (how steep are your hills?). Make sure the seat or the bar to support the seat doesn't prevent you from walking inside the rollator - if you are pushing from behind the walker, you will be off balance as you go down the hill, and it will make it harder to control.

 

from Interested in Rollators (unverified) at January 19, 2021

follow

 

from Hazel R (unverified) at January 19, 2021

Ever since I started using a walker I have developed a stooping posture which has worsened over time. Other walker-users here seem to be similarly afflicted. I’ve come to the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that the handles, being aligned parallel to the ground, are contributing to the problem. I think it would be better if the handles were sloping downward at the back end in such a way that one would be pushing the walker forward more easily, instead of downward into the ground causing the shoulders to hunch up. I’ve no idea if this arrangement would be medically acceptable.

I wonder if any of your Longevity Explorers would consider looking into the design of walkers taking my comments in mind.
Hazel

 

from William Dyer (unverified) at January 19, 2021

Ten years ago my wife and I bought battery-assist bikes, which we use at our summer cottage in RI. Now at 78, it comes in even more handy to get around the village and up the hills.

 

from John Stevenson (unverified) at January 21, 2021

I love my electric bicycle -- a Civia Parkway. I have been a biker for a very long time, and have had good quality hybrid bikes. However, at 76 and on the way to hip surgery I wanted a bicycle that was (1) easier to pedal; (2) step-through to make it practical for mounting and dismounting; and (3) light enough in weight so that I could still manage to transport it on a sturdy bicycle rack on my car without needing something specialized. The last was the most challenging, and the Civia has been a great choice.

 

from JLS (unverified) at January 19, 2021

Rollators: My husband transformed a standard rolling walker into an upright forearm rolling walker long before they became popular. Even the newer models aren't as versatile as my home-adapted version. I have low back issues and a traditional rolling walker caused me to hunch over the handles. Adapting to an upright walker was an immediate improvement both in posture and reduction in back pain. He later adapted a Walk'n'Chair for forearm support for outdoor use. I certainly wish the makers of rolling walkers would develop more devices for forearm support complete with significantly larger wheels for use outdoors. But until they do, a forearm supported upright rolling walker is a huge, huge, huge improvement over the traditional 'lean'on-your'wrists' rollator.

 

from Judy K (unverified) at February 01, 2021

I adapted regular walkers by buying aftermarket large wheels for the front and wheels that brake when you press down on them for the back. Not expensive, and all the tubes on walkers (the ones with the push-buttons) seem to be the same size and so interchangeable. One of my walkers has a seat and handles at hip height, but I recently decided it makes me lean over too much. So I went back to a regular walker, and moved the wheels over. I can stand straight with the regular walker.

 

from Sally G (unverified) at January 19, 2021

It is difficult to find a mobility aid for travel. Is there any place that you can go to for possibilities to consider for your individual needs? Specifically, such as types of canes, walkers, scooters, wheelchairs, travel wheelchairs, etc. categorized by weight, size, intended use, users weight and height etc. Also I would like a list by state of businesses that will service mechanical issues in your home or will pick up and deliver damaged or worn aids for service.

 

from Robin M Hall (unverified) at January 19, 2021

I bought a walker with wheels and this allowed me to go out of my apartment without the risk of falling.
My cane was not enough. I am 74 and last year fractured 5 vertebrae on top of 5 years ago breaking my left femur in 3 places and subsequently shattering the bone. I have just been diagnosed with lung cancer and am determined to live another 30 years+
It cost a bit (about $100) but was worth every s and slopes round the building and the street is a hill.
I have very good upper body strength but am not sure this is needed with this remarkable piece of equipment.

 

from Margherita Abe (unverified) at January 19, 2021

I have a small sportscar -- a 1991 Mazda Miata which I bought used in 1998...It is low mileage because I generally use it for grocery store shopping and other similar local trips. People often ask me why I don't trade it in for a newer nicer fancier car....It is an old fashioned analog car....New cars are computers on wheels. I love computers and surf the net with my laptop daily, but I do not want to drive a computer! So I appear at my favorite car repair shop twice a year and have him do whatever he needs to do to keep it running. I suspect that once it becomes unfixable I will simply stop driving...Or maybe its body will rust out before mine does....

 

from Bill D (unverified) at January 19, 2021

I bought a new red 1969 Alfa Romeo Spider (movie The Graduate) in Germany and recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of repairs and three body overhauls. Talk about analog vs digital, this is the first car that I owned that had seatbelts. All the dials are analog; not all work. But it is fun to drive around and see the look on kids' faces seeing an old man driving an old car.

 

from Robin M Hall (unverified) at January 20, 2021

This reminds me of a saying that used to be commonplace in the 60s to 80s but seems to have been eroded by time
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I think it is great that you stick to your guns and, if you enjoy something, it matters not what others think.

 

from Annette L. (unverified) at January 20, 2021

I have used a cane. Crutches. A walker and now rollators. I would like a rolling walker that would be easier to steer to stop To fold and lift to put in a car. And manipulate. In small spaces, like my apt. I also am thinking that I will need one that is less tiring to push perhaps with motor assist. Also it is easier for me to walk if I can rest my forearms on the handles instead of just my hands. Thank you for any help or ideas .

 

from Marty H. (unverified) at January 21, 2021

I am tall and need support for balance. I found that a cane works better than a walker because I can extend the height and not have to bend over. My walker requires me to hunch over and always be looking down while with a cane I can look forward most of the time. Seniors tend to slouch anyway so anything for correcting that helps. I have seen walking sticks which look like ski poles but I don't want to stand out in a crowd and a cane is unobtrusive.

 

from Deb B (unverified) at January 21, 2021

I use trekking poles primarily when on uneven ground or trails, but I've used them (one or both) in cities when my knees bother me-no one seems to care. I've had three different pairs over the years, but now mainly use the lightest ones that fold the smallest - I can fit them in a backpack or in a small suitcase (and someday we will be able to travel again).

 

from Judith Kerman (unverified) at January 28, 2021

I use trekking poles, too, often just one. Folding carbon fiber, very light and fold quite small. I have fitted mine with quad tips so they stand by themselves. Glad to share how I did this DIY with anyone interested.

 

from Terri M (unverified) at January 21, 2021

I think the handle bars on "walkers " are too low . The bars should be higher or at least adjustable, so one is not walking in a stooped position. The bars should be high enough to be able to provide support and still stand tall

 

from Gudrun F (unverified) at January 23, 2021

I was not sure if I should be writing about this since I am an amputee (lower right leg) but after I read all these intersting answers I had to. By the way I do wear a Prostitic leg and three canes are my friend. Upstairs, downstairs and one in my car. Giving me a lot of support. I also have a walker upstairs mainly helping me to get out of my chair and walk around. I did not like these rollators they were way to heavy for me to operate. Don't laugh but if I am only able to walk on one foot I use an old fashion pair Forarm crutches. Sorry this was not advanced Technology but it works for me. Best wishes to all of you.
Gudrun F

 

from Judy K (unverified) at February 01, 2021

I often wish I were a mechanical engineer, or knew one who wanted to work with me. I am tall and have bad knees, so I have trouble getting up from a seat lower than 25". Only one rollator I was able to find (the Zoom Nova) has a seat that high. Most rollators have adjustable handle height, but not adjustable seat height, and the listings (on Amazon, for instance, but also Spin-right and other sites) often do not mention seat height at all! I do a lot of DIY. For instance, I bought large "all-terrain" wheels and wheels that serve as brakes when you push down on them to retrofit a regular aluminum walker. I also put quad tips on carbon-fiber trekking poles to make them stand by themselves, using thermoplastic beads to glue the tips on and fill the gap (trekking poles are very narrow - quad tips have a very wide socket.)

 

from Pete K (unverified) at February 03, 2021

I had an older vehicle without safety or comfort features. I bought a 2017 Acura RDX which has the features that let me drive in a much safer mode - especially on the interstate.

The feature I like the most is the Lane Assist as it nudges my steering wheel when I am not in the center of my lane which is a subtle and helpful feature as I discovered I was usually driving too far to the right.

The collision mitigator flashes when it appears I am about to hit something and it can apply the brakes too. I set the cruise control on the speed I want and the distance I want to stay from the vehicle in front of me and the vehicle does it all automatically. If a vehicle is in my blind spot on either side of my vehicle, I can see a light at the front of my front doors.

When I pull in forward to a parking space or a wall to park, chimes tell me when I am close. I use the back up video camera every time i back up and it sounds a chime if there is a person or a vehicle approaching the rear of my vehicle.

I can look out the window at home and start the vehicle so it is cooled down in the summer and heated up for us in the winter before we go out to enter the vehicle.

The windshield wipers come on automatically with rain or snow so no need to look for the lever to activate it.

The LED headlights are really bright and clear at night.

From the driver seat I can push a button to open or close the tailgate which has been great in the pandemic when I have gone to stores for curbside pickup.

I have the navigation on constantly so I can reroute around wrecks and find new routes.

No need to fish out car keys as the door opens when I touch it and I just push a button to start the vehicle as the key in my pocket is picked up by the bluetooth in the vehicle. The tailgate also can open when I just touch it as it too can sense the key in my pocket.

I'll stop here for now as there is a lot more. I did spend a few hours at my dealer with their tech guru patiently setting up the car (hands free phone, etc.) and patiently walking me through all of the features. I am not a car salesperson and have no Acura stock and I realize the newer cars offer even more safety features than I have like a front camera and all around cameras. I may get the new car itch soon.

 

from Pete K (unverified) at February 03, 2021

My wife will soon need a rollator for her Parkinson's Disease so we are in the research phase.

We had a local rollator supplier bring her three different models to test and none worked for her. One seemed to run away with her, another one with large wheels forward that was hard for her to turn and the last one had an uncomfortable seat with no back.

Online we found more expensive models - the Upwalker and the U-Step. Our local suppliers do not keep expensive rollators like these in stock so we are having trouble finding these to test.

Sight unseen, the U-Step seems to have the features we need: sturdy base with low center of gravity to help prevent tip overs to the sides (our physical therapist said she has seen many rollators that do tip over easily), it has wheel brakes that engage when the handles are released which we want, the rear wheels can have the rolling friction adjusted so it does not run away, it has a seat with storage under it, it offers a laser option so that Parkinson freezing can be overcome by looking at the floor laser, it has a cadence counter option for exercise, the company will do the paperwork to get Medicare reimbursement if eligible, there is a front wheel to help with curbs and other bumps.

We have finally found a local person who has one for sale, but the pandemic is presenting some problems so we are trying to work out a safe testing visit. If we do, I will report back on the hands on test of the U-Step.

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