Mobility Aid Devices and Demographics

A vital tool
The use of mobility aids and devices such as wheelchairs, scooters, canes, crutches, and walkers – are effective ways to maintain a good quality of life when a condition, accidental injury, or post-operative recovery limits the ability to “get around.” Because the U.S. population is getting older more and more people are using mobility aids, on a temporary and permanent basis.

Growing use
The use of mobility aid devices has grown in recent years with the populations using wheelchairs and walkers doubling from 1980 to 1990. Crutch and cane use also increased by 14 percent and 53 percent, respectively, over this period. Growth in the usage of these devices continued from 1990 to 1994, far exceeding what could be attributed to the aging of the population. It is likely that improved survival of trauma patients has also contributed to the growth in mobility device use. However, significant improvements in the design of mobility devices, both in function and image have also fueled this growth.  These increases are expected to continue with older and younger generations well into 2015 and beyond.

Current statistics indicate just over 6.8 million community-resident Americans use assistive devices to help them with mobility. This group comprises 1.7 million wheelchair or scooter riders and 6.1 million users of other mobility devices, such as canes, crutches, and walkers.  (This was confirmed by a University of California study in 2013.)  This is a significant demographic that is expected to rise as well.  A majority of the population using mobility devices is elderly, but there is a substantial minority who are of working-age.  There are of people in the world who suffer from disabilities on a level that few of us could imagine. With the aging of the physically-active baby boomers comes the realization that the growth of people with disabilities will continue to increase in the years to come.

The challenge
As the makers of the EZGO™ Walker ball, we challenged ourselves to make a “better walker ball.” We found that many folks using walker balls were having trouble moving easily on rugs and carpets, due to the tennis ball and its fabric-against-fabric “drag.” We also found that some of the smaller slides and glides could “catch an edge” on the transition between hard floors and a rug or carpet, as well as bumps and ridges in the rug itself caused by active grandchildren, or people moving furniture.

Knowing that most walker users are very concerned about germs, we wanted to make the EZGO as “germ-free” as possible. So we make the EZGO with plastic that is embedded with GermBLOCK™, our own antimicrobial agent that prevents the growth of harmful germs.

A better solution
After much consideration, we came up with the EZGO™ Walker ball. The EZGO gives walker users good mobility on ALL types of indoor flooring, especially rugs and carpets, where its round, low-friction surface glides easily over bumps, folds and hazardous edges. It’s lighter than a tennis ball and bigger than a glide—it moves more easily, and that’s how we came up with the name.

To limit germs and the risk of infection, we made the EZGO with GermBLOCK™, a powerful yet safe additive that prevents bacteria and other harmful germs such as viruses, mold mildew and fungi from establishing or growing. This is important because the ability to easily take the EZGO on and off is another great benefit. GermBLOCK™ is an integral part of the product, it never fades or wears out. GermBLOCK makes the EZGO Walker ball a better mobility aid in your home, or in a hospital, nursing home, or rehabilitation center—in short, anywhere infection and disease is a concern.

We set out to make a better walker ball with EZGO, and we think we succeeded!