While walking can come naturally to most of us, it can be daunting for those with mobility challenges. In such scenarios, Walkers become the superhero most people didn't know they needed but couldn't do without.
But like most things, walkers are not a one-size-fits-all affair. Its world is diverse, with many options for different needs and preferences.
In our guide, we explore the different types of walkers, compare their features and accessories, and tell you how to choose the perfect one. Let's walk to our newfound freedom!
Importance of Walkers
They give you a standing ovation and become your mobility equipment everywhere you go. But walkers also serve lots of other purposes. Here are some of the reasons why they're essential.
Support and Stability
The primary function of walkers is to provide users with a stable base for support. They are your supportive best friend when you struggle with balance or weakness. Their secure platforms help minimize the risks of slips and falls.
This is handy for seniors, individuals whose conditions affect their standing and walking, and even more importantly, those recovering from surgeries.
Once you have your support and stability in check, the next step is gaining mobility. You no longer need to be confined to limited areas.
Whether craving fresh air, getting a cup of milk, attending social gatherings, or taking a leisure stroll, walkers are here to save the day. You can enjoy all this without requiring assistance from others.
Recovery From Illness or Surgery
If you've recently been sick or undergone surgery and have spent some time in a hospital, your muscles may weaken due to lack of activity. The pain from surgery may also limit you from walking correctly.
A walker will help ease this pain and give you the freedom you need while recovering.
At times, it can be uncomfortable to walk. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, arthritis, and Parkinson's disease affect your muscles and coordination, making walking extremely painful. A walker can be a lifesaver in such scenarios.
In summary, you want to consider using a walker if:
- Individuals who have aged and struggle to stand.
- Your legs tire quickly, and you are out of breath quickly.
- You experience pain and discomfort when walking.
- You are recovering from a disease, illness, or surgery.
Types of Walkers and Their Features
Here are the different types of walkers, their features, and their respective pros and cons.
The standard walker is more like the typical cane but has two handlebars and four legs. It can, thus, support both sides of your body. It doesn't have wheels like the rollator but is instead characterized by the metal frames and grips on each side.
From this definition, you can tell that you require energy to use the standard walker. You have to physically lift it with each step and place it slightly ahead of you before taking the next step.
- Features a simple design that is easy to use and maintain.
- Excellent for those with stability or balance issues.
- Supports both sides of the body.
- Requires users to use their upper body strength.
- Needs lifting every step of the way.
- It may be uncomfortable for long distances.
Why walk when you can stroll? Four wheels, hand brakes, a comfy seat, and a storage compartment. A rollator walker combines maneuverability with convenience to make the process as convenient as possible for users.
It has wheels that swivel and can easily maneuver through tight spaces. There is also a built-in seat for when you get tired, not forgetting the storage area for carrying personal items.
- Their pneumatic wheels eliminate the need to lift them up.
- Have seats for resting.
- Ideal for long distances.
- They are heavier and bulkier than standard walkers.
Three-wheel and Four-wheel Rollator
Rollators can further be sub-categorized on their number of wheels; the three-wheel and four-wheel rollators.
The four-wheel is the more common type. It has two swivel wheels at the front and two fixed at the back. It features a padded seat that is usually equipped with a storage pouch beneath it.
The three-wheel rollator has one wheel in front and two at the back. Its design makes it slimmer, more compact, and easier to maneuver than its cousin. But since it's narrow, it doesn't come with a seat but only a storage bag.
Upright walkers, also known as posture walkers, help users attain a straight posture. They achieve this thanks to their unique frame, ergonomic hand grips, and forearm support.
The elevated armrests are where you rest your arms when walking. This helps reduce pressure on the back, wrists, hands, and knees.
- Help promote better posture.
- Relieves pain and strain on the shoulders and wrists.
- Offer stability for people with back problems.
- Do not have seats.
Choosing the Right Walker for Your Needs
Choosing a walker is like choosing a new salsa dance partner. You want someone who matches your rhythm, has the moves, and enjoys every moment with you.
You two must fit in perfectly and become the talk of the mobility town. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right walker for your needs.
Safety: First, Last, and Always
Safety is a paramount consideration when selecting your walker. It's not an accessory but the foundation of confident mobility. Your walker should be easy to engage and release and have reliable hand brakes if it is wheeled. This will give you complete control over your movement.
The tips on the walker's legs should be anti-slip to prevent slips and falls. Some models even feature reflective elements when moving in low-light conditions.
Here are a few safety tips to remember when using a walker.
- Maintain an upright posture when moving. This will help protect your back from injury and strain.
- Ensure the handles are at the right height.
- Avoid pushing the walker too far in front.
- Be extra cautious when walking on slippery surfaces. Also, watch out for obstacles lying on the ground.
- It would be of great help if your shoes had excellent grips on the soles.
Like safety, comfort isn't a luxury but a necessity. Since it is your daily companion that will accompany you almost everywhere, you want something as comfortable as possible. The handle should be ergonomic to fit your grip and not cause strain on the wrists and hands.
Most walkers will have their hand grips padded to reduce friction and cushion the hands. Additionally, if the walker has a backrest or seat, these should be padded. A comfortable walker will improve your quality of life while incurring minimal or no discomfort.
Like any equipment, the material used to design your walker is significant in its performance, maintenance, and durability. It's the manufacturer's goal to strike a balance between manageability and sturdiness when designing a walker.
With this, the most common materials used are aluminum and steel. Aluminum is usually the preferred choice since it is lighter and corrosion-resistant.
Your walker's material should be comfortable to handle, easy to clean and maintain, tough and durable, and lightweight to lift easily.
Walker or Rollator
You'll also need to decide whether you are settling for a walker or a rollator. This decision, of course, comes down to personal needs and preferences.
A standard walker will provide excellent stability but will require you to lift it with each step. Conversely, a rollator features wheels, brakes, and at times, a seat for a smoother and more comfortable experience.
The standard walker is your go-to choice if your primary concerns are balance and stability. But if you value mobility, comfort, and convenience, you'll find solace in rollators.
Storage and Convenience
This is the feature you probably didn't know you needed. A walker offering storage features will make your daily routine smoother. Such models normally have compartments, pouches, or baskets to help carry your essentials.
You can store your keys, phone, small shopping bag, or water bottle and carry them with you comfortably. No more need to juggle multiple items when walking.
Buy Your Walker Today
Your walker is more than a mobility aid. It is your passport to engaging with the world, embracing life's adventure, and, most importantly, maintaining your independence.
Ultimately, the choice of what to settle for involves assessing your mobility goals and unique needs and preferences. At Mobility Paradise, we have a wide selection of walkers.
Contact us today, and our expert team will help you find the ideal mobility aid. Let's walk this journey together – because every step counts!