Every family with a loved one dealing with a mobility impairment has embarked on a special journey filled with both joys and challenges.
Connecting with individuals and families who share similar experiences and truly understand such challenges can provide invaluable emotional support and is an essential aspect of self-care.
Together, you can exchange ideas, celebrate both small and grand achievements, and learn from each other’s approaches to such challenges.
Joining these groups also offers additional benefits, including:
Advocacy: Local groups can advocate for the needs of their members, such as disability-friendly housing, accessible parking solutions, or improved public transportation.
They also help raise awareness about mobility impairments and the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities.
- Access to resources and support: Group members can share information about disability aids and equipment, assistive technology, and home healthcare products. They may also offer in-home disability care and other services that can boost your quality of life.
- Motivation: Personal stories from fellow group members who have faced similar challenges can provide hope and encouragement to you or your loved ones during difficult times.
In Australia, various national and state-level organisations and support groups cater to mobility-impaired individuals.
By connecting with and actively participating in these groups, you will feel more connected to your community and be able lead a more fulfilling and independent life.
In today's article, we will explore some of these organisations and groups and provide tips and resources on how to connect with them.
Understanding Mobility Impairment in Australia
Mobility impairment, also known as physical disability, refers to any condition that hinders an individual's ability to walk, move, or navigate on their own.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, around 1 in 6 (18%) people in Australia—or about 4.4 million individuals nation-wide—are estimated to have a disability, with mobility impairment being one of the most common.
Mobility-impaired individuals face several challenges in their daily lives, such as:
- Difficulty accessing public spaces that lack accessibility features, such as wheelchair ramps, spacious aisles, and elevators, in places such as malls, businesses, and parks
- Limited availability of accessible housing that caters to their specific needs and enables unrestricted movement within their homes
- Challenges related to accessibility in areas with inadequate disability parking
- Lack of access to disability-friendly homes that feature convenient accommodations such as wheelchair ramps, disability aids and equipment, in-home disability care, and home healthcare products
- Financial constraints in acquiring specialised disability equipment that enhances mobility, such as electric wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and adjustable beds
Fortunately, there are several disability support services, resources, funding programs, and accessibility products available to help mobility-impaired individuals overcome such challenges and improve their quality of life.
Joining local organisations and support groups specifically built for mobility-impaired individuals is an excellent way to learn about and connect with such resources.
National Organizations and Support Groups
For mobility-impaired individuals seeking national organisations and support groups in Australia, there are several options available:
1 - Physical Disability Australia (PDA)
Physical Disability Australia (PDA) is a not-for-profit organisation run by Australians with disabilities for Australians with disabilities.
The organisation advocates for the rights of individuals with mobility impairments and provides support to them and their families.
PDA was founded over 20 years ago and has more than 1,000 members from all Australian states and territories. Their goal is to enable every Australian living with a physical disability to realise their full potential.
PDA provides information on disability aids, accessibility products, assistive technology, disability-friendly housing, disability support services, handicap equipment, and disability resources.
The organisation receives funding from the Federal Government through the Department of Social Services. Well-wishers can also support PDA by making donations, which contribute to advocating for the interests and views of people with mobility challenges.
2 - Paralympics Australia
Paralympics Australia helps Australian athletes with mobility impairments participate in sports and compete at the Paralympic Games. This is made possible through partnerships with the government, various sporting bodies, businesses, and the community.
The organisation has successfully prepared the Australian Paralympic Summer and Winter teams since 1990.
Paralympics Australia collaborates with its National Federation partners to identify professional Paralympians and assists athletes by funding coaching, purchasing required disability aids, and covering travel expenses.
3 - Disability Sports Australia (DSA)
Disability Sports Australia (DSA) is one of Australia's nine national sporting organisations for people with disabilities.
DSA promotes sports as a means of exercise and socialisation for individuals with disabilities, providing access to various sporting activities such as cycling, basketball, and archery.
The organisation offers programs focused on skill development and participation, including the Wheelchair Rugby Development Program and the Junior Wheelchair Sports Program.
DSA also strives to connect Australians with disabilities to local active and adaptive opportunities through initiatives such as Activate Inclusion Sports Days, the National Referral Hub, and Sports Incubator.
These three national organisations, along with others, such as ParaQuad NSW (now Forward Ability Support) and Multiple Sclerosis Australia, offer a range of services that cater to the needs of mobility-impaired individuals.
Through their advocacy efforts and resources, individuals can access disability-friendly homes, mobility equipment such as wheelchair ramps, and in-home disability care.
By leveraging these groups' expertise, individuals can acquire the tools and resources necessary to improve their quality of life.
The table below summarises the programs and initiatives performed by the three organisations.
|Physical Disability Australia||Advocacy and support services||Advocacy for rights, support for individuals and families, and resources for mobility aids||Individuals with disabilities and their families|
|Paralympics Australia||Support for paralympic athletes||Support for athletes in preparing for Paralympic Games, funding for required aids and travel||Paralympic athletes|
|Disability Sports Australia||Wheelchair Rugby Development Program, Junior Sports Program||Programs focused on skill development, participation, and access to various sports||Individuals with disabilities interested in sports|
State-Based Organizations and Support Groups
State-based organisations and support groups play a crucial role in providing tailored assistance and resources to meet the specific needs of local communities.
Below are some state-based organisations and support groups in Australia that cater to the needs of mobility-impaired individuals:
1 - Ability First Australia
Ability First Australia is an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities by offering support and access to disability aids and equipment.
It’s a not-for-profit strategic alliance comprising 14 leading disability service providers in Australia.
Their support services reach over 92,000 Australians with disabilities.
Services provided include home modifications, housing funds, mobility equipment advice, and assistive technology training.
“Our involvement helps us to ensure we are doing the best we can for people with disability and provides us with timely benchmarked data, and rich discussions with our peers, sharing innovation and best practice.” — Richard Littler CEO, Xavier
2 - Independence Australia
Independence Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support services for individuals with disabilities or other personal needs, including those with mobility impairments, helping them regain and maintain independence within a supportive community.
Their services include:
- Around-the-clock support for individuals with complex care needs, Supported Independent Living (SIL), or multiple support needs
- Personal care services, such as bathing, dressing, and wheelchair assistance
- Domestic assistance services, including light house cleaning and meal preparation
- Community access services that enable individuals to participate in their local community, such as joining sports teams, socialising with friends, or pursuing shared interests
- Active night support and sleepover support for those who require intermittent staff support or mobility assistance during the night
- Counselling services to address a range of issues individuals may face, including depression, isolation, and intimacy concerns
Independence Australia also organises a series of free local workshops to support individuals with mobility impairments or their caregivers.
The four-part program is delivered over four half-days and covers topics such as safe lifting and movement, effective use of mobility aids, self-care, navigating the disability system, and obtaining information from professionals.
Importantly, these workshops provide an opportunity to connect with others in the local community who face similar challenges.
3 - Mobility Equipment Providers
Mobility equipment providers such as Mobility Shop Direct are companies that specialise in assisting individuals with mobility challenges to enhance their daily lives.
As dedicated mobility aids specialists, we take pride in the equipment we provide. Whether it's a rollator, heavy-duty wheelchair, or knee walker, we are passionate about empowering every Australian citizen to maintain their independence.
The table below lists some mobility equipment and their descriptions.
|Wheelchair||A chair fitted with wheels for use as a means of transport by a person who is unable to walk as a result of illness, injury, or disability||Used for daily mobility by individuals with limited leg function or stamina|
|Walker||A frame used by disabled or elderly people for support while moving about, typically made of metal tubing with small wheels and handles||Often used by those needing additional support and stability while walking|
|Rollator||Similar to a walker, but equipped with wheels on all legs for increased manoeuvrability Often comes with a built-in seat||Used by individuals requiring walking support who also need to rest periodically|
|Crutches||A pair of long sticks with a crosspiece at the top, used by placing under the armpit to support oneself while walking||Aid for people who are unable to support their weight on one or both of their legs|
Our aim is to enable individuals, from seniors to those with disabilities, to continue participating in the activities they enjoy, like dining with friends or taking a walk in the park.
“I find it easy to fold and unfold, I, as a mid-70s woman can lift it into my vehicle easily and my husband, who is the user, finds it comfortable to use. He's not a big man so the seat width is quite roomy for him.” — Wendy J., Verified Buyer
“Very happy with my purchase. Easy to expand and collapse.Fits in the boot of my small car and light enough for me to lift in and out. Mum was stable and comfortable in the chair.” — Karen H., Verified Buyer Australia
We recognize that purchasing a mobility aid is a significant investment, so we strive to offer the best prices for our disability aids and equipment.
Our Lowest Price Guarantee program ensures that if you find the same product at a lower price from another online store, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll match if not beat their price.
Mobility Shop Direct extends its commitment to supporting the community beyond selling mobility aids.
We actively collaborate with local organisations and support groups to improve the lives of mobility-impaired individuals.
One of our partnerships is with Variety, a children's charity support group that assists Aussie kids and families facing challenges from illnesses, disadvantages, or disabilities. Together, we work to enhance children's lives through the provision of mobility aids.
You can contribute to this worthy cause by donating to our fundraising campaign for Variety, helping us make a positive impact in the lives of children in need.
Resources for Connecting with Local Groups
Living with a mobility impairment can present unique challenges, but connecting with local organisations or support groups can provide access to valuable resources and connections to make life easier.
Here are some resources to help connect you with local groups that focus on disability aids and equipment, accessibility products, assistive technology, and other supports:
Disability support services: Start by reaching out to your local disability support service providers.
They are often the best place to find information about local organisations and support groups catering to mobility-impaired individuals. They maintain directories of such groups and can guide you in the right direction.
- Disability resources centres: Check with disability resource centres in your area. These centres typically have directories of local groups that provide disability-friendly homes and the necessary equipment for enhanced mobility.
Social media: Explore social media platforms where individuals with mobility impairments gather to share experiences and offer support.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram often have groups dedicated to mobility impairments, where you can find local groups or connect with others who have similar experiences.
Local library or community centres: Reach out to your local library or community centre for information on local organisations, programs, and support groups for mobility-impaired individuals.
They may hold events and activities specifically designed for those with mobility impairments or be aware of local groups that you can join.
- Online directories: Make use of online directories such as "The Good Neighbour Guide" and "Mobility Care's Directory."
These directories provide resources specifically in regard to assistive devices, disability aids, and equipment, including mobility scooters and walkers.
Support Local Organisations and Groups With Mobility Shop Direct
Finding a local organisation or support group can be incredibly beneficial for individuals with mobility impairments as well as their loved ones.
These groups provide understanding, support, and access to valuable resources and information.
Additionally, they play a role in advocacy efforts and can help individuals find suitable housing, disability aids and equipment, mobility aids such as wheelchairs, handicap equipment, and in-home disability care.
At Mobility Shop Direct, we recognize the importance of feeling a sense of belonging, especially when facing mobility challenges.
We also understand the significance of maintaining your independence and continuing the activities that bring you joy.
That's why we strive to work closely with you to provide the best mobility aids for your needs.
Our comprehensive range of products includes wheelchairs, bathroom aids, kitchen aids, bedroom aids, and even hospital equipment such as transfer aids and ankle moon boots.
Our customer base includes Australian seniors, disabled individuals, as well as healthcare professionals, nursing homes, and hospitals seeking mobility equipment for their patients.
At Mobility Shop Direct, we strongly believe in giving back to the community. As part of our commitment, we support local causes that focus on improving the lives of individuals with mobility challenges.
In particular, we have partnered with Variety to contribute to the well-being of children and families facing mobility impairments.
Together, we can foster a more inclusive and supportive community, where everyone has the opportunity to lead a fulfilling life.