For many seniors, the key to staying home is continued mobility. Being able to get up to go to the bathroom is important, but so is getting out to the grocery store or just making it from one room of the house to another without worrying about a fall. When mobility starts to become an issue, many people will look toward investing in a walker for a little extra support. But how do you know which type of walker to buy, and what should you look for?
Types of Walkers
Standard: These walkers have four legs, each with a non-stick, rubber tip on the end. Standard walkers provide the most support, but can be tiring if used for long distances because they have to be picked up.
Wheeled: You will see standard walkers with wheels on the front two legs, but you can also find two- or four-wheel walkers in a more modern style, with a padded seat built in. Walkers with wheels are less stable than a standard walker, but they are better for uneven surfaces and will help the user get around at a quicker pace.
It is helpful to talk with your doctor or physical therapist about which walker is best for you.
Purchasing a Walker
Once you have decided what type of walker you need, there are some things to look for when making that purchase.
– Grip: You can choose a traditional plastic grip, or foam or soft-grip covers. The softer grips are helpful if your hands get sweaty to keep from slipping. Choosing the right type and size of grip is important because it can put more stress on joints if you’ve got one that is uncomfortable.
– Height: Each walker’s height is adjustable. A walker should come to your wrist when you’re standing up straight, and your elbows should bend at a 15-degree angle when you lean into it.
– Weight: This is an important factor if you’re expecting to use your walker a lot outside of the house. Look for one that you can easily lift into the trunk of a car. There are even foldable walkers that make it easier to transport from place to place.
Choosing the right walker for you is just the first step. Learning how to use it properly is the next important priority. If you are already working with some of our talented staff at Piedmont Home Health, they can help you get adjusted to life with a walker. You’ll be surprised how liberating it can be.