I think for a lot of younger people (and maybe some older people too) the standard NHS ‘greyeige’ for most things isn’t that attractive. However we still need mobility aids from crutches to walkers and wheelchairs to assist us with our mobility to help us get around and be mobile and have a sense of independence and freedom. This is really important especially when your mobility is restricted because of your chronic illness or disability. For some people having a nice looking mobility aid can help them to accept the use of a mobility aid therefore use it. I’ve seen it before on social media where people have accepted the use of mobility aids better when they are more ‘fashionable’ or accessorised or less clinical looking like NHS issued equipment. From choosing a coloured frames for wheelchairs, having a coloured or decorative walking stick or pair of crutches or accessorising mobility aids. You can even buy accessories for mobility aids or find ideas online to jazz up mobility aids. But as pretty as your mobility aid is it’s still serving a purpose, it’s assisting the person’s mobility.
Ever since I’ve used mobility aids I’ve had pretty looking ones. I’d love a wheelchair that would better meet my needs but also the perks of not having an NHS issued wheelchair is the customisation options. However I have accessorised my NHS wheelchair to represent ‘me’.
I think when I first started to use a walking stick having something that was pretty helped me come to terms with the fact that I was starting to struggle with my mobility and I needed something to assist me with my mobility. Now if I could afford it I’d have multiple pairs of crutches to go with my outfit of the day but sadly they’re too expensive for that as is a lot of disability related things (being disabled really is so expensive, but that’s a blog post for another day).
However not only are my crutches fashionable in terms of having a pretty design on them (designed by by me so they are utterly unique) they assist me with my mobility. Having pretty crutches just helps me express myself whilst at the same time having them to assist me with my mobility. I think I feel more comfortable and happier using them than I would a pair of standard issue NHS crutches. Though not fashionable (I’d love to see them in more colours) are my flexyfoot ferrules. Since getting them they’ve really helped give me more stability and grounding when walking.
Some of my wheelchair accessories are purely cosmetic like my Izzy wheel covers. Most recently I bought some RehaDesign push rim covers. Usually I’m reliant upon someone else pushing my chair for me because I don’t have the strength but these push rim covers are amazing! They give me the extra grip to be able to push myself a bit more myself independently from someone pushing me. They even work okay to a standard in wet and colder weather too. The push rim covers also help me navigate slopes and ramps too. They’ve really transformed my experience of being a wheelchair user. So not only do they add a pop of colour to my chair they’re giving me more independence and freedom which is what mobility aids are there to do; it’s just like with my crutches nicer to have something that’s pretty and expresses who I am.
Mobility aids don’t have to be drab ‘greyige’ they can be pretty and functional too doing the job they’re designed to do whilst at the same time expressing our different personalities, favourite colours or outfit choices. They also help give people the confidence to use mobility aids too, so mobility aids can be functional and pretty too.