For years, The Netherlands has been well-known for its groundbreaking work in the field of Healthy Ageing. The Northern Netherlands is considered a reference region by the European Union. Besides long term (elderly) care and digital healthcare innovations, a crucial factor in encouraging Healthy Ageing is Mobility & Vitality.
The Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport has formulated the mission to add 5 healthy years to every Dutch citizen’s life by 2040. Of course, a healthy lifestyle plays a vital role. This includes a proper diet, a safe, healthy environment with attractive outdoor meeting places, and of course sports and exercise.
One company dedicated to promoting an active, healthy lifestyle is 4Wieler (Wieler is pronounced ‘Wheeler’). They design and produce four-wheel bicycles in various models, suitable for 1 to 7 people. The 4Wielers have already been seen in Colombia.
“In 2018, we attended BiciGO in Bogotá, Colombia’s biggest bicycle fair,” says Mr. Robert van Hees, CEO at 4Wieler. “We brought one of our four-wheel bicycles and it received a lot of enthusiastic responses. We also met a bicycle specialist who is willing to represent us in Colombia and take care of service and maintenance. After BiciGO, we made this bicycle available to a senior care center.”
In 2019, 4Wieler went back to Colombia as part of a market study. “We visited several elderly homes and hospitals. We saw that people who suffer from for instance Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease can easily go for a ride with the four-wheel bike. It was wonderful to see the joy it brought them.”
“In most cases, people who suffer from diseases like these are limited in their activities. Going for a walk is often a challenge. But cycling is easier. The 4Wielers offer them the possibility to go outside more. You do not need experience or training to ride a 4Wieler.”
“Compared to tricycles, four-wheelers are much more stable. Therefore, they are much safer. A good way to prevent accidents from happening,” says Mr. Van Hees. “This makes them perfect for elderly people and people with a disability or a severe illness. The 4Wielers offer anyone the opportunity to get some healthy exercise outside.”
“Together with the Netherlands Enterprising Agency, we are preparing a project which will take place Colombia in 2021. A selection of elderly homes and rehabilitation centers will use our four-wheel bikes for several months. The results are shown and discussed at several meetings we will organise. I would like to invite Colombian healthcare professionals to find out about the advantages four-wheel bikes have to offer.”
“There is a lot to gain by providing these bikes to patients and residents,” Mr. Van Hees concludes. “It’s good for the mind, good for the body, and so it’s good for their quality of life.”