Every week we take a look at a specific assistive device and all the options available. This week we're talking about walkers. To explore our other posts about assitive devices, see the links below:
For those who have trouble keeping stable while walking, a walker is often the solution. Though walkers may seem very basic (a simple metal frame that someone can lean on), there are specific optional features that can make walking much more enjoyable. We're going to take a look at all the different options to help you make an informed decision when you purchase a walker.
Do you need a smoother walk or a more stable support? The answer to this question will determine the number of wheels you need on your walker. The number of wheels on the walker is the single biggest consideration that you should make when selecting one.
There are three main types of walkers and the difference is in the wheels. The type that you choose depends on the mobility, strength and comfort of the person who plans to use it.
Standard walkers with no wheels (like the Medline Two-Button Folding Walker Without Wheels pictured above ) are very sturdy and good for balance. If you know someone who needs to be constantly supported and unstable, this is a good option. The person using a walker like this must have sufficient arm strength to lift the walker with every step.
Two Wheeled Walkers
Two wheeled walkers can be easier to use because you don't need to lift up the entire walker to take a step. There's little need to worry about slipping and falling because the two legs without wheels provide a steady grounding. Above is the PCP Mobility and Homecare Single Release Adjustable Lightweight Standard Walker with Wheels.
Four Wheel Walkers
The most common type of walker is the four wheeled walker. These walkers can cruise smoothly down the street while providing a balancing support! While they offer a smoother walk, they're not right for people who need to put their full weight on the walker all of the time. The user must have enought control to not let the walker slip away. The walker featured above is the Ezee Life Rollator and Folding Flashlight Cane.
Modern walkers aren't like the boring things that your great grandparents used to use. They are upgraded with lots of features to make the walk more enjoyable for the grandparents of today.
Though seemingly minor, someone using a walker will have to have their hands in the same spot all day. Hopefully they can pick a grip that they like, whether it be plastic or softer material.
Some walkers are more portable than others but most are able to be folded down for transport. Make sure the walker you select can fold down to an appropriate size to put in the car.
Some walkers (mostly the four wheeled ones) come with storage bags or compartments to help hold things while walking. Think about not being able to hold anything in your hands while you walk and this feature makes a lot of sense.
Some walkers have the additional feature of a bench to sit on. If the user needs support and doesn't want to stand for long periods of time, a bench can help solve that problem.
In Etobicoke there are a lot of places that offer walkers, canes and assistive devices for good prices. Some recommendations include:
When you're selecting a walker for a loved one, consider the number of wheels, folding feature, type of grip and if it has a bench or a storage feature. The perfect walker will support your parent or relative through thick and thin.
And did you know that the Province of Ontario will help pay for your medical equipment? The Assistive Devices program can contribute up to 75 per cent of the cost of your medical equipment. Everything from wheelchairs to hearing aids, prosthetic devices to respiratory equipment can be covered. When thinking about purchasing a wheelchair, be sure to consult the Assistive Devices Ontario website.
If you have more questions about assistive devices or walkers contact us at Qualicare or click on the link below.