How To Choose A Walker
We often have customers come into our store looking to purchase a walker (or rollator) for a loved one. While this in itself is wonderful, we can't help choose the right walker for your loved one without having them test it in person. Here are only a few of the things we need to take into consideration when helping you choose a walker that is both safe and comfortable:
How Tall Is The User?
Four-wheel walkers come in 3 standards heights, measured by the walker's seat: 18", 20", and 23" high. Seats on walkers are not height adjustable, so it is very important to choose a walker that has the correct seat height for the user's leg length.
When sitting on a walker at rest, your knees should ideally be as close to a 90 degree angle as possible. If the seat is too low and your knees are higher than your hips, then it will be too difficult to stand up out of the walker. If the seat is too high and your feet do not sit flat on the ground when seated, you may experience (potentially serious) circulation problems in your legs.
Once the correct seat height has been determined, we then adjust the walker handles. The recommended handle height for walkers is wrist height, but preferences differ between individuals. Handles should not be set so low that you are hunched over, or so high that your shoulders are raised up or back.
How Much Does The User Weigh?
Most standard walkers have a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds. There are walkers available for users above this weight range, as well as those who find standard walkers too narrow to sit in comfortably, but they must be specifically requested.
Is The User A Fall Risk? Do They Tend To Fall Backwards Or Forwards?
Many people don't realize that the fall risk of the user is an important factor, critical to choosing a safe and suitable walker. There are 2 styles of walker frames that are suited to different kinds of fall risks: A-frame and H-frame.
A-Frame walkers have a rectangular-shaped footprint, and are best suited for users who tend to fall backwards. The rear wheels of the walker extend further back and position the user between the arms and the rear wheels, which prevents the walker from tipping over backwards as easily.
H-Frame walkers have more of a square footprint, and are best for users who tend to fall forwards. The rear wheels are located closer to the seat, so the user stands slightly behind them when walking. H frames also tend to have larger front wheels, making them more difficult to tip over if you are falling forward.
The Little Details
There may be other factors to consider when choosing a walker, such as portability (does it easily fold up and store in a vehicle?), frame weight (can the user push it up ramps?), brake systems, and even storage and cane holders.
Our staff are well trained in the walker selection process and are happy to help with all of these decisions. Once you have chosen the correct style and size for your needs, then it's simply a matter of choosing which colour you like, and the walker is yours!