Mobility devices, including walkers, electric scooters and canes, have become increasingly popular among adults over age 65. These mobility aids can help older individuals stay balanced, coordinated and decrease risk of potentially dangerous falls.
If you or a loved one is losing strength, endurance or experiencing other age-related restrictions, a doctor may recommend a walker for stabilization. This assistive device can be ideal when you need to weight off one leg or you have occasional balance issues.
Here are a few tips to consider when selecting and utilizing a walker for mobility.
The Right Fit
There are many different types of walkers, so it’s important to find the one that works best for you. For seniors who are still able to get around but need some assistance, a standard walker with legs that are lifted to move may be the best option.
There are also rolling walkers with wheels, known as rollators. If you need more weight-bearing assistance, a two or three-wheel walker can be beneficial. Four-wheel walkers are also available for seniors who need help with both weight-bearing and balance.
Regardless of type, make sure to adjust the walker to the right height. If it’s too high or low, use of a walker can lead to back pain and increased risk for an injury or fall.
Before starting to use a walker, familiarize yourself with how it works. A rehabilitation specialist or able-bodied person should be there to assist when you try a walker for the first time. As you step forward, push down on the walker to avoid sliding.
You should also practice standing up. Never use a walker to pull yourself up from a seated position. Use a stable chair to avoid the device tilting and potentially losing your balance.
There may come a time when you encounter stairs with no elevators or ramps to help you get to the next level. If you are physically capable of safely climbing a staircase, talk with a professional to learn how to properly use your walker on stairs.
Safe & Accessible
Your walker might not always be necessary, especially while moving around at home. If that’s the case for you, it’s important to make sure your walker can be stored out of the way but still easily accessible.
Many of these mobility devices are collapsible and can be stored in a closet or by your front door. When you are using a walker around the house, make sure all trip hazards have
been removed from the floor.
Having a collapsible or easy-to-store walker can also come in handy when traveling. Even for a trip to the grocery store, being able to load and unload your walker from a car or bus can save you time, energy and help prevent injuries. Yet make sure to never carry items while using your walker.
For more questions or recommendations on a walker for your aging loved one, contact the professionals at Avon Health Center.
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