When folks hear the term “limited mobility”, they assume the person is unable to walk and is confined to a wheelchair. Really, the term can be broadly defined as not able to move as the average person in their age group is able. It does include people who are confined to wheelchairs or beds but there are a lot of people who fall into the category with a wide range of mobility issues.
For some people, it means they can’t walk as well or as much as the average person. People with cerebral palsy may be capable of walking short distances but cannot handle a day at Disney. They may not qualify for the use of a wheelchair but still need some assistance with their day-to-day lives. There are options, such as the Zinger Chair, that can assist with those types. It’s a motorized chair but is not classified as a medical device. If someone is confined to a wheelchair, this would not be an appropriate tool for them. But for those that fall into the cracks of limited mobility, it’s a perfect solution.
They Can Exercise
Just because someone is in a wheelchair (or a motorized chair, walker, or stair climber), it doesn’t mean they can’t exercise as well. For people who do have limited mobility, exercise becomes even more important to avoid atrophy, blood clots, and other medical conditions that can arise from lack of exercise. Chair exercises, water aerobics (particularly for cardiovascular exercises), strength training, and flexibility exercises (think yoga!) are all important to those who do have limited mobility.
They Are Capable Of Enjoying Activities
You would be amazed to learn what people with limited mobility issues can do! Imagine being able to zipline in Vegas or touring the gardens of a famous estate? There are a slew of things one can do even if they are limited in how they walk or move around. There is no reason to not take tours or even consider that they can’t skydive. What you do want to do is inquire with companies about how handicap accessible they are. You may need to go into detail about the situation to see if they are accommodating. It’s not just exciting and adventurous outings that are relevant either. Gathering to play a game of Scrabble or chess is equally important. Other things include:
- Art or pottery classes
- Container gardening in the kitchen or on the porch
- Knitting or crocheting circles at the local yarn shop
- An exercise group for people with limited mobility (it becomes a social gathering as well!)
- Organizing a family recipe book
Work Is Still Possible
For some folks, being able to work is a big deal and finding that work is important. A friend once worked in a bakery with a blind woman who was able to roll some of the best bread in the entire company. She worked part-time and was limited in her duties but she was an asset to that company. Depending on the mobility issue at hand, it can limit the options available. As long as you have clearance from your doctor to work, there is no reason for anyone to consider not working.
Limited mobility should not be treated as an end of life. Yes, there are challenges and you have to be legitimately concerned about safety in all situations. Yes, there will be some things a person won’t be able to do. But ultimately, everything above contributes to a healthy self-esteem and mental well-being in a person who has challenges that their peers may not be experiencing. Encourage, support, and love them on their journey!