Mobility Aids

Mobility Aids

Getting Mobility Aids During the Pandemic

One would think that getting a needed mobility aid during this pandemic crisis would be next to impossible due to the fact that Clubhouse 6, where the storeroom is located, is closed.  Nothing could be further from the truth, in a lot of ways, it’s even easier. Just call the Golden Age Foundation’s voicemail line at (562) 431-9589 and leave your information.  A volunteer will then call you back to figure out what will best serve your needs and share with you how to get the equipment you need. Using this telephone system reduces personal contact as much as possible – helping to keep our community healthy.  

Getting Mobility Aids in Normal Times

The Mobility Aids Room is located at the west end of the first floor of Clubhouse 6 near the table tennis robot.  We’re open Monday through Friday from 09:00 am to 11:00 am (when nearby parking is easier).  We observe the usual holidays.  Residents should come in to be properly fit to their new aid and to fill out the required loan form.  

Volunteer Jim Hastings checks out a rollator to resident Marion Lonsdorf – image credit John Hlavac

What Equipment Is Available?

The Mobility Aids Program offers 5 different pieces of equipment.  There are three different kinds of walkers and two different kinds of chairs available.  The loan period for most equipment is 6 months, but is easily renewed with just a phone call to our voicemail box.  There is no charge for borrowing a mobility aid. 

Everyone is familiar with the traditional walker.  It’s really handy inside of an apartment because of its rock-solid stability and easy portability.  For people wanting to get outside and get some exercise, the four-wheeled walker that has a fold-down seat and brakes is very handy.  Although a lot of people call this a walker, it’s better called by its proper name of “rollator”.  Because a rollator is bulkier it is best used outside, although they do fold up. 

Walker (left) & Rollator (right) – Image credit John Hlavac

The last kind of walker that the GAF offers, the knee walker, is an aid for foot and ankle injury recovery.  They are ideal for keeping all weight off of the lower leg, because all of a person’s weight is put directly on the knee.  

The Knee Walker – Image credit John Hlavac

There are two different kinds of chairs available for residents to borrow.  The wheelchair and its brother, the transport chair.  Both chairs have footrests.  Wheelchairs feature those big back wheels that allow the occupant to move themselves around.  Transport chairs have small back wheels, which means that the person using the chair must have someone, such as a spouse, caregiver or friend, to move the chair around.  Because of the smaller wheels, the transport chair is generally lighter.  

The Transport Charge (left) & the Wheelchair (right) – Image credit John Hlavac

Certain kinds of mobility aids are not available, canes and crutches, because their proper use requires a little resident education that is best left to a medical professional.

Fitting Is Important

People come in different sizes and so do most mobility aids.  Trying to get by with a poorly fit mobility aid is a sure way to lead to unnecessary aches and pains.  The Mobility Aids staff stands ready to make sure that your walker is properly sized and adjusted for you.  If you find that you don’t enjoy moving around while using your aid, by all means, come in to see if a fitting will change that. You may be pleasantly surprised. It can be like a new lease on life. 

Resident Dena Anderson found she enjoys walking more after having her rollator adjusted for her height – Image credit John Hlavac

Safety and Equipment Repairs

Anything that is mechanical can and should be, expected to eventually fail.  Unsafe conditions typically creep up on you.  Bad brakes are dangerous, period.  So if you have bad brakes, a loose handle or a wobbly wheel it’s time to have it looked at.  If you have a problem with YOUR mobility aid, it’s smart to have it taken care of before it becomes a problem that could lead to injury to you.  If the rear skids on your traditional walker wear through, then damage to flooring will result.

Some repairs are quick and easy, just taking a few minutes.  But some repairs require replacement parts and a lot more work.  The problem is no one knows if YOUR problem is easy or hard.  So if you’re looking to get a repair done, it’s best to assume the worst and hope for the best.  Emergency repairs are not offered because repairs take tools, parts and time.  Sometimes repairs can take a week or more, you’ll get a loaner while repairs to your aid are being done.  Repairs to equipment loaned by the Golden Age Foundation are always free of charge.  Repairs to privately-owned mobility aids are also free of charge unless special parts have to be ordered, then you’ll be expected to pay for the parts necessary.