To those who happen to have frail bodies and those who’ve been living with their infirmity for a long time, chances are high that they will see an assistive device as a representation of their freedom and independence.
Regardless of this kind of freedom and independence, they have in mind something to do with their ability to go out of their house in a wheelchair or accomplish a menial task inside their homes. For them, it is downright enabling and empowering.
But we can’t help but think that disability equipment comes with a handful of negative connotations. It evokes images of brokenness, that something in that person is wrong. When the attention is centered on the disability, it will bring to mind perceptions of aging, of stigma, of being dependent on someone else.
When we hear the word equipment, that word usually evokes thoughts of mechanical instruments. The prospect of embracing a mechanical device to become part of their daily lives is unimaginable and scary to some.
Over the last few years, manufacturing firms involved in the production of assistive devices for handicapped people have made leaps and bounds, in terms of product research, design, and development. Such progress inside this industry made it possible for people who use their product offerings to live a life with less need for a hospital visit.
The product offerings catered to the needs of the elderly, those with infirmity and those who are frail are now reflecting independence, control, and freedom for them. As proof for this is the increasing array of equipment whose designs are now more centered on the user’s ability.
If we will take time to look into these devices that we conveniently marked as a piece of disability equipment, we will see and discern that their focus on enabling and empowering the user is completely contradicting the catch-all term they use. The sheer fact that they are fast becoming commonplace now signifies that users could be under the notion that they don’t see themselves anymore as having a disability.
To understand this even better, we can look into mobility scooters or bathing aids. The whole user profile these products are catering to is now changing and shifting. Alongside this also is how the manufacturers are presenting it to the market.
Mobility aids in the form of walking frames to wheelchairs give people with frail bodies and infirmities a chance to get around and about their environment, more independently and greater amounts of freedom. It is also true when then they are out in the wider world.
Nowadays, we get to enjoy a wider spectrum of mobility aids, and this can be attributed to the advancement of our technology and designs. But the main distinction here from what we have in the past is that manufacturing firms now for disability equipment are putting a greater emphasis on the personalization of their product offerings according to user requirements.
This level of customization is given in terms of functionalities and usabilities. This covers for different weights and shapes of wheelchair frames or walking frames, powered wheelchairs with different drive systems, or walking frames that come with storage options and adjustable features.
If ever there is a need, walking aids are more accessible today than it was some decades ago, and you can buy at reasonable prices, too. Again, we will associate this to the alleviation of the stigma that it used to have before when you can only acquire them at a specialist medical supplier.
The range of personalization that we have today for mobility aids is giving users a certain level of freedom to maintain an active lifestyle they want to have, dissipating dependence and associated restriction that we often equate the word disability to.