Getting and Using a Walker: What You Need to Know
For many people with mobility needs, especially as they get older, getting around from place to place can be a challenge. There are problems stemming from overbalancing, as well as the inconvenience of needing regular rest periods.
A walker is a great way of providing additional support, which not only helps people to maintain and improve their independence and confidence, it also helps them to remain safe and secure when getting out and about.
A walker — or as it’s sometimes referred to as, a rollator — is similar in construction to a walking frame, but with the addition of wheels and brakes, with both 3 and 4 wheeled options available.
Most walkers will also come with a bag or basket, and some options will also have a seat for additional comfort and ease. While they can be used indoors, their primary usage is for outdoor journeys.
Who Needs A Walker
If you have any of the following issues, a walker could be beneficial for you:
You need additional support when out and about
You frequently stop for rest periods
You find it difficult to use traditional walking frames, especially when navigating sidewalks and steps
However, there are some considerations you need to keep in mind when deciding to purchase a walker. Namely, if you have the strength and physical ability to control both the speed of the walker and braking, especially if often encounter sloped and uneven grounds.
Then there are a number of conditions a walker can be helpful for, including:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Motor Neurone Disease
Using a walker can help minimize the effects these conditions have on the body, and help support where needed.
Making The Most Of Your Walker
When it comes to making the most of your walker or rollator, there are some key tips you need to keep in mind in terms of technique and how you get about while using it.
Try not to push it too hard, as this could cause balance issues. Similarly don’t push it too far in front of your body when moving.
Not only will these make falls a greater risk, it can also make it difficult to control the speed and braking of the walker.
When turning, it’s a good idea to keep your body position within the width of the frame, and to avoid twisting the walker. This is similar when you’re walking forwards, as your hips should remain inside the frame of the walker.
Things To Consider When Buying A Walker
The first thing you need to consider when purchasing a walker is the size and fit. This is hugely important, as getting the right height and weight will be necessary for ensuring it’s comfortable and safe to use.
Next you need to consider what additional features you want: will you be requiring a bag or basket for transporting shopping? Will you need a seat to reduce the strain on your body?
If you opt for a seat, then there are some additional considerations you’ll need to factor in.
Firstly, you’ll have to decide what material you want the seat to be made from, with most walkers usually offering a hard or soft option. It’s also important to check the maximum load for the seat, and make sure this is over your weight.
While walkers are predominantly used outdoors, some users may find it beneficial to be able to use theirs indoors as well. If so, you need to check the width of the doors and entrance ways in your home, and make sure that the width of the walker can fit through them. As well as checking to see if there are tight corners that may need to be navigated.
Finally, there are a number of different options that you can choose from when it comes to the wheels of your walker.
Swivel wheels will offer greater maneuverability, which can be especially useful if you’re going to need to navigate smaller or more crowded environments such as shops or crowded streets. However, if you don’t, or if you need to traverse uneven grounds, then fixed wheels could be of greater use for you.
Walkers come in either 3 or 4 wheeled options. 3 wheeled ones can be easier to manoeuvre, as well as lighter, something that will be beneficial if you have difficulty using yours, or if you will often have to lift it in and out of a car. However, if you’re looking to use a seated walker, you’ll need to opt for a 4 wheeled option.
Island Mediquip Walkers Available
We have a wide range of high quality walkers, such as:
The Xpresso Lite allows for a more enjoyable, independent lifestyle. Designed for the user that requires a lite-weight frame, the Xpresso Lite series features low maintainance cable brakes, soft padded seat and featherweight tires.
The F120 is just a slightly smaller version of the F160 with all the same abilities. You are able to maneuver the many terrains of this beautiful island and enjoy where you live. Take a walker through the forrest or walk along the beach feeling the ocean water wash over your feet, you can do it all. All while suporting a Vancouver Island manufacturer!
The Piper Series, the best-selling walker in its class, was designed for those who need a lightweight yet solid and stable platform. It is the strongest aluminum walker in the market today and is available in four sizes, from the 17” seat height Piper Super Mini DX to the 23” seat height Piper Tall DX.
When buying a walker it’s important to be guided through the process by an expert, someone who can help ensure it is fitted properly and suited to your needs. That’s exactly what we can do here at Island Mediquip. To find out more, get in touch or visit us in store!