Walkers for seniors help people in their golden years to walk and reach longer distances despite mobility and balance issues. It is in fact one of the most beneficial inventions for disabled individuals and seniors. Aside from their physical benefits, walkers also provide more opportunities for the elderly to engage in social activities. This will reduce their risk of falling into feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression.
With the growing demand for walkers nowadays, there are a lot of styles and designs being produced. The myriad of options has given seniors the difficulty of choosing the one that best fits their needs. In this article, we will share essential facts about walkers for seniors, their types, benefits, and the top choices seniors should consider.
What is a Walker?
A walker is a tool used by people who struggle to walk due to injury or disability in their lower extremities. Also, as people age, it is pretty common among seniors to have balance and mobility issues, and this is where walkers become helpful to them.
A typical walker has four legs on the ground and a handle on top for the user to grasp while walking. Unlike a walking stick or cane, a walker has a better support base to avoid strain on the lower extremities of the user.
Benefits of a Walker for Seniors
Walkers offer a lot of benefits to seniors which are the following:
- Helps make longer walks - Walkers give safety and security whether you are walking at your house, on the way to the store, or at the park. This is because you know you have the walker to rely on as support and it can also prevent the risk of falls.
- Helps make safer walks - Since walkers provide better support than canes seniors will be able to walk longer distances. This works by reducing the weight the lower extremities are carrying while walking.
- Provides extra support - Whether you have mild to moderate mobility issues, walkers give the extra support you need when you stand up or when you take a walk outside even without direct assistance from a caregiver or loved one.
- Prevents strain on the body - Considering that older adults tend to have weaker bones and muscles in the lower extremities, walking without proper support will strain one’s body. Walkers provide the necessary support needed by your body.
Types of Walkers for Seniors
Before deciding on buying a walker, it’s important to know its different types based on the design and the patient’s condition. This will give you a general assessment of what type of walker you should choose. Below is the list of three main types of walkers for seniors.
Four-wheeled or rollator walker
This type of walker has four legs, all with wheels on them. Rollator walkers come with push-down brakes where the user uses his foot to press the brakes or grip brakes for seniors who have osteoporosis or rheumatic conditions.
These usually come with a basket and built-in chair to give seniors somewhere to sit during space breaks. Compared to standard types of walkers, rollator walkers are a little heavier and bulkier. But when it comes to convenience and high-end comfort, a rollator walker is a good investment.
Two-wheeled or front-wheeled walker
Unlike rollators, two-wheeled or front-wheeled walkers are more lightweight. It has two legs with wheels on the front and two legs without wheels on the rear. Front-wheeled walkers are suitable for seniors who need extra support but without straining their hands and arms since all they have to do is push the walker instead of carrying it as with standard walkers.
However, front-wheeled walkers may not be suitable for seniors with poor coordination and balance. But If we talk about portability, a front-wheeled walker is an excellent option.
Standard walker or the zimmer frame
Standard walkers refer to walkers that have no wheels. This is a good choice for seniors who have balance and stability issues. Also, unlike the other types of walkers, the standard type is more affordable and lightweight, making it a good candidate for seniors on a budget.
Factors to Consider
Now that you know the different types of walkers for seniors, you should also consider the following factors before buying one.
- Price - Are you on a budget? Or are you willing to invest a generous sum of dollars? Walkers typically cost 50 to 300 dollars depending on the type you choose. For seniors on a budget, opting for a standard-type walker is a good choice. Wheeled and rollator walkers are more expensive and can be opted for by seniors who are willing to invest in additional features.
- Foldability - If you are a senior who often moves or travels, choose a walker that is lightweight and easy to fold.
- Weight - Standard walkers are generally more lightweight than wheeled ones. However, rollators are good options too if you always have a lot of stuff with you while walking long distances since these models usually come with baskets.
- Width - When it comes to width, it’s important to check whether the model you are planning to buy can fit your door and passageways. Most models are 22-27 inches wide, if you have narrow doors, opt for narrower models. The width should also be proportionate to your body stature.
- Handle height - The handle height of the walker should also be proportionate to your overall height.
- Capacity - Walkers have their capacity limit, so when buying one, make sure that the walker should be durable enough to carry your weight.
- Type of brakes - Walker brakes are only applicable to rollator type of walkers. There are generally two types of brakes: One which is controlled by the feet; and one that is controlled by the hands. Seniors with arthritis should opt for hand grip brakes so as not to strain their lower extremities.
Top Walker Choices for Seniors
- Lumex UpRise Onyx Folding Walker: This is a standard type of walker with two levels of handles to assist seniors not just in walking, but also when standing up, sitting down, or using the toilet. Also, Lumex UpRise is very lightweight and easy to fold making it a good option for seniors who often travel or move.
- Able Life Space Saver Walker: Able Life Space Saver walker is a good option for seniors who prefer a wheeled walker that is lightweight and easy to carry. Given its minimal design, it can fit into narrow passageways and can be folded into a size of a large umbrella.
- Vive Folding Walker: Are you confused between choosing a wheeled walker and a standard walker? If that is the case you might want to opt for Vive Folding Walker instead. It comes with two five-inch wheels that you can detach if you prefer to use a standard walker.
- Drive Medical Side Style Hemi One-Arm Walker: This one-arm walker is a good choice for seniors who need minimal support but want to upgrade from a regular cane to a one-arm walker for better balance and stability. This is also lightweight and durable so seniors don’t have to worry about carrying it with them while traveling.
- NOVA Vibe 6 Rollator Walker: NOVA Vibe 6 is one of the best choices when it comes to quality and price. It comes with heavy-duty six-inch wheels with lightweight brakes perfect for elderly people. NOVA Vibe 6 can be safely used both indoors and outdoors as well.
- Drive Medical Nitro Euro Style Rollator Walker: If you are willing to invest quite a buck for a high-quality rollator walker, Drive Medical Nitro Euro Style Rollator Walker is a good option. It comes with large, durable wheels, a built-in brake cable, a foldable frame, and adjustable handles to match the user’s height.
Walkers are a helpful tool for the disabled and also for seniors who have problems with balance and mobility. Walkers help seniors not just by walking, but also by providing them with more opportunities to socialize and travel. Though it may turn out to be a bit expensive to some, it is still an excellent investment for seniors.