If you need a little help walking, but you’re not ready for a wheelchair yet, a walking aid (walker) could be the right solution for you. Walkers can give you a lot more freedom and independence, especially if you have trouble standing and walking without assistance. Different types of walkers offer varying levels of support, and choosing the right one for you depends on your particular needs, ability and how you intend to use it.
Most walkers are designed to provide stability for people who find it difficult or tiring to walk independently. In some situations, where standing or walking is difficult, a walker may not be enough, and you may be more suited to a wheelchair. You can check out our comprehensive range of power and manual wheelchairs here. Walkers can also be used in conjunction with other mobility aids. For example, you may choose to use a walking aid at home, and then take a wheelchair when you’re out and about, or vice versa.
So how do you know what’s best for you? A good place to start is with your GP, who may recommend you see an occupational therapist about what type of aid you might need. You can discuss your particular mobility needs, any limitations (such as arm or hand strength), and how you’ll use a walker to get around. Then you can try out a few options to see what you’re comfortable with.
Consider how and where you’ll use a walker.
Before you choose a walker, think about how and where you plan to use it. If you want something for occasional use while out of the house, you might only need a walking stick or cane, which you can easily put to one side when not in use.
If you need something that helps with your posture and takes the strain off your legs and lower back, then a rollator might be right for you. A rollator is also a good option for use outdoors and on uneven terrain, because the four wheels help spread your weight, plus it can easily be manoeuvred in small spaces.
Get the right fit for you.
The best walker is one that’s been specifically fitted to you. The height is particularly important. Most walkers come with adjustable points. And remember to wear your regular footwear when you’re being measured. You should also consider the width. If you’re going to use it inside your home, you may want a slightly narrower frame to fit through doorways and around furniture. However, some people may need a wider frame to get the right support.
Use it safely.
As with any mobility aid, it can take time and practice to use a walker safely. If you’re working with a therapist, they’ll help you develop the right technique to use it safely. It’s important to build up your confidence by starting on flat surfaces over short distances. Then you can start practising using your walker in more challenging areas, such as going up and down stairs and ramps, or while carrying a bag or small items.
There are a few simple things you can do to stay safe while using a walking aid, such as:
- Keep the floor clear – look out for loose carpet, rugs and clutter, and make sure pathways are kept clear
- Avoid slippery areas – make sure any spills are cleaned up and that you’re using the right mobility aids in wet areas
- Wear the right shoes – you should wear functional, supportive and comfortable footwear
- Check for wear and tear – check your walking aid for signs of general wear, particularly on the slip-resistant feet, wheels and brakes. Also, look for cracks in the frame and any loose connections. If this does happen, talk to your health care professional about changing how you use your mobility aid, or consider getting fitted for something else.
Get reassessed regularly.
Your mobility needs can change over time, so it’s important to regularly reassess whether you’re using the right walker for you.
Your walking aid may no longer be suitable for you if:
- you’re not able to walk as far with it
- you become tired after a short amount of time
- you feel unsteady while using it
- you can no longer do activities you used to be able to do
- it causes pain or discomfort.
Trust the mobility experts.
With over 40 years experience in mobility aids, Power Mobility is dedicated to helping you get the right mobility equipment to suit your needs, whether you are privately funded, have a Home Care Package or are funded by the NDIS, MASS or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Power Mobility provides the perfect combination of quality mobility products, personal service and expert advice. So if you’re looking for a walker, power chair, manual wheelchair, lift chair or any other mobility solutions, check out our extensive range online or visit our huge showroom at Geebung in Brisbane, or call our friendly, experienced team on 07 3265 4663.