Performing the Mobility Dance

As if life isn’t already tough enough, now you’re expected to act like Baryshnikov every time you want to move from the bed, sofa, or car seat. You know what we mean. Simple, everyday maneuvers that you once performed without a second thought — now require planning, calculation and contortions like a game of Twister.

Arthritics, people with injuries, or simply others who have trouble moving around have for years been “making do” with aids to assist them in moving around. If you don’t have these issues, you may still be fostering the illusion that everyone walks, rises, twists, and sits with zero pain and discomfort — all because the world is designed around you.

Mobility aids must be permanent, safe, and designed exactly for the purpose of helping you move around. No ad hoc mobility aids anymore, please. So let’s put an end to those not-so-graceful dance moves that cause pain and discomfort:

The “Out of Bed” Ballet

You’re in bed but you don’t want to be. The bed seems to have a mind of its own. Time was, you would practically leap out of bed. Now moving out of bed consists of well-laid plans involving hands and legs moving in coordinated patterns. Bed manufacturers only seem to consider highly-mobile persons when they design their beds. Naturally, because this is a bed, surfaces are smooth and soft — no grip bar, nothing solid!

Instead, use mobility devices for beds, such as wide-handled bed canes, transfer handles, or easy-grip bed caddies to ease yourself out of bed — without any crazy moves.

The Bedside Twirl

Now out of bed, you may want to transfer to a wheelchair? Not so easy if you have hip or leg troubles. A transfer pivot is just want you need to avoid having to perform The Bedside Twirl.

The Easy Chair Can-Can Kick

Find it nearly impossible to get out of the easy chair or sofa because there is nothing solid to grip onto? Instead of grabbing thin air or over-exerting painful legs, grip onto a sturdy transfer bar or use furniture risers to raise your chair just enough to make it easier.

The Car Seat Twist and Shout

Shout of pain, we should add. That aching twist and shift out of car seats is best performed with car mobility aids such as a swivel seat cushion.

The Sofa Glissade

A ballet glissade–or glide–is best performed in a theater. Not in your house. Slide smoothly between soft, uneven surfaces with flat transfer boards made especially for this maneuver.

Finale: The Overhead Lift

You may be performing with a dance partner–that is, a helpful spouse or caregiver. Instead of taxing their aching backs, gait belts and transfer slings help them to assist you in moving from place to place.