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Getting around

You, a family member or the person you care for wants to get around safely and easily both inside your home and out and about.

Mobility

Fitting for a wheelchair

If you or a family member needs a walking stick, a scooter or a wheelchair or a better cushion for the wheelchair, you can contact an occupational therapist or a physiotherapist who will check how you stand or sit and discuss your other requirements. The OT can recommend products to meet your needs and will show you how to use them and arrange to make adjustments if needed.

The Independent Living Centres across Australia have showrooms of products and both the national and Independent Living Centre NSW have a database of products. You can talk with a therapist about products that might suit your needs. Independent Living Centres do not sell products but you will get contact details for suppliers.

Therapist demonstrating wheelchair controlsIf your feet are causing you concern and reducing your mobility, a podiatrist can advise you on foot care, various treatments and shoe inserts.

You might need an orthosis such as a shoe insert or ankle or knee braces to get around. An orthotist can custom design and fit a variety of orthoses based on your needs.

You might have specific restrictions or pain when walking. A physiotherapist can offer treatment to the affected area and work with you through exercises to improve strength, coordination and mobility and to maximise movement.

If you get tired quickly, an exercise physiologist may be able to provide strength and fitness exercises. This will help build your stamina and endurance so that you can more easily move around your home or outside.

Leaving the Home

Some people may feel anxious about leaving the comforts of home especially if you need to learn new routines. This might involve concerns about feeling safe, using public transport or being around people who might not understand your disability. A psychologist or a social worker can discuss how to manage anxiety and work with you to keep calm in new or stressful situations. A social worker can link you with community transport services if public transport isn't for you.

Physical accessibility to buildings

If you find it difficult or impossible to access a building you visit often, an occupational therapist can work with you to find ways to make it more accessible. This could involve providing you with equipment, advising you on techniques to access the building or making modifications to the building.

If there is no underlying condition and you feel tired or out of breath when climbing stairs or walking up ramps to enter a building, an exercise physiologist can provide exercises that will improve your fitness and strength to make these tasks simpler.

Public transport

Young woman checking timetableYou or a family member want to use the bus or train to get out and about. The occupational therapist can work with you to look at the types of public transport to use and how to make it as easy as possible for you.

An exercise physiologist can help improve your and your family's fitness to get to the train station or bus stop. A physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist can show you how to build your strength, balance and coordination so it is easier for you and your family to get on and off public transport.

Driving a car

Wheelchair user transferring to carIf you want to learn to drive a car or have concerns about driving after acquiring a disability, you may wish to discuss this with a psychologist. The psychologist can assess how you would cope with driving and making quick decisions. There are specially-trained occupational therapists who will assess your ability to drive in a practical sense. If the occupational therapist agrees that you can drive, the occupational therapist can also advise about modifications for the car.