Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean that you should enjoy the independence of a leisurely walk any less! Being mobile is proven to improve mood, health,
Many people heading into older age begin to experience pain and discomfort when moving their muscles and joints. This can discourage them from walking themselves around.
This is why many of them use an assistive walking device. The use of mobility walkers, can greatly relieve pressure and enhance the walking experience.
Where to buy a walker for seniors?
Have a look at the websites belonging to mobility aid manufacturers. Alternatively, look at online retailers like Amazon. Some charities might partially or fully subsidize your purchase. If so, have a look at their websites too.
What to consider when choosing a walker for seniors?
When the time comes to choose a walker, there are many features to choose from and if you’re not careful you might end up thoroughly confused. Fortunately, all isn’t lost. Have a look at the basic features and you’ll soon know what you’re looking for.
To get the correct walker, you need to concentrate on a few different features. Anything else is ‘Bells and Whistles’. So, let’s go through the essentials, shall we?
Walkers come in all different shapes and sizes, so you should pick one that is suited to your body type, needs and kind of support you’re looking for.
Basic Walker (without wheels)
This is the most ordinary type. Walkers without wheels are recommended for seniors with good upper body strength and patients for post-operative walking help, following hip surgery or knee surgery. Usually, these walkers are foldable and lightweight.
This is a simple walker with wheels. They are commonly categorized as walkers with two wheels in the front. Usually, the wheels do not swivel side to side. Wheeled walkers for seniors are a good choice for those who want extra stability while crossing uneven terrain.
Rollators for seniors are for individuals with acute stability issues and also lack upper body strength. Usually, they have four wheels but there is also a three-wheel option. 3 wheel rollator is a little more maneuverable and can be better for small spaces.
Regarding carrying capacity they come in two options, which include a standard rollator and a bariatric rollator. Both rollator types have the same design with four wheels. The standard ones normally support up to 300 pounds. But bariatric or heavy-duty rollators are designed for larger users and can accommodate up to 500 pounds.
Rollator walkers usually come with a seat. There are two main seat options with this type of walker. These include padded and unpadded seats. Padded seats offer greater comfort and are the best choice for seniors with hip arthritis or those who are weak. Unpadded seats are easier to clean, so they might be more convenient for seniors who experience incontinence.
This type of walker also has brakes. You have two options, which are loop-breaks and push-dow-breaks. Seniors with severe arthritis might find it difficult to use loop-breaks, so they might look for the push-down brake.
A knee walker or sometimes referred to as a knee scooter is designed for senior patients who need to keep weight off their lower leg due to surgery or fracture. It allows older people to be more mobile during recovery. This walking assistance device is usually lightweight and foldable, in many cases, it has hand brakes for easy stopping.
So, if you think you’re ready to walk more independently, with a little support, check out our top mobility walker picks, below.
The width will have a big say on whether the walker is stable or not. If it’s too narrow, there won’t be anything to stop it from tipping over sideways if you lose your balance. But, if the walker is too wide then you won’t get it through the doors in your house or in fact, any other building. You’ll probably find that the manufacturer doesn’t make models that are too wide for standard doors anyway. But, you should measure the doorways and check. If you’re in doubt on the correct width for you, speak to a professional first.
You need to buy a walker that you can easily lift, but isn’t so lightweight that it falls over if a gust of wind hits it! Walkers mostly have aluminum frames so they’re already as lightweight as they can be while still maintaining their strength. Check you have the upper body strength to lift it while walking along. Otherwise, choose another type of mobility aid, such as a rollator or something else with wheels.
Without a doubt, you have to ensure that it is the correct size and weight for you. A correctly built walker will be fully adjustable for height so that it provides support but allows you to walk with a good posture. If your walker or rollator has a seat, make sure it’s at the correct height too. Many versions with wheels have handlebars and brakes. So, these have to be adjustable, not only for height but also for the amount of grip you’re able to apply on the brake handles.
Stand at the walker and hold the grip naturally. Your hands should be lower than your elbows with your forearms at about 15° to the horizontal.
Alternatively, stand by the walker with your arms hanging by your sides. To fit properly, your wrist crease must line up with the top of the device’s grip.
You could say that stability is a combination of all the other features put together. The height, width, weight, and others all combine to ensure you have a stable and secure structure. It will also be safe enough to support your entire weight while providing appropriate mobility.
If you’re overweight, you must ensure the mobility aid you choose is strong enough to support your weight. There are standards that mobility aid manufacturers must adhere to when designing their products. One of these includes the weight it can support. Check with the manufacturer’s documentation to see what the weight limit is. If you’re in any doubt about its suitability, speak to your doctor first.
We touched on this earlier. Sometimes a mobility aid has wheels fitted to help you get around without lifting the frame. These are generally known as ‘rollators’ and are essentially a walker with wheels instead of feet. Some rollators have three and some have four wheels. If the wheels are free to rotate you must have a set of brakes so the machine doesn’t run away with itself on a slope. Most rollators have handlebars with brakes, like those fitted to a bicycle. Additionally, the rollator must have a parking brake so you can safely leave it unattended.
Always make sure the brakes work properly and are regularly maintained.
Decide on your budget
All these ‘bells and whistles’ come at a price. So we have a choice of what to buy. You can have a basic walker, or have one with a seat. It can have wheels or not. It can have a basket for groceries or your umbrella. The choice is yours. So, consider how much you intend to use it. Do you need it indoors as well as outdoors? How about a folding version to fit in the car?
Once again if you need help choosing, speak to your doctor. We would advise you to buy the best one you can afford depending on how much you intend to use it. Also, remember that you may have health insurance that will cover the cost or you might qualify for a free one, depending on your circumstances.
Frequently asked Questions about mobility Walkers
Are walkers safe for elderly?
It can be a great mobility device, but only if the person who uses it is willing and satisfied with usability of the walker and if it is used properly. Otherwise, walkers can be dangerous and can cause harm to users.
What is the Difference between Walker and Rollator?
Walkers are more simple and are treated as medical equipment, while rollator is a walking frame equipped with two, three, or four full rotating wheels and brakes. Rollator does not need to be lifted to move forward and can have a seat and a basket. Mostly they have a more modern and fashionable appearance.
Can you sit on Walker?
On a regular walker, you cannot sit down, but however rollator comes with a seat, so you can sit down and rest if you need to. Rollator shouldn’t be used as a transportation device.
Should you choose a Walker or Cane?
A cane can help you walk while taking the weight off a sore, injured foot, ankle, knee, hip, etc.. It will make you walk easier if you have weakness on only one side of the body. If you are afraid you might fall or you have shortness of breath, arthritic pain, can’t walk, and carry objects at the same time then a walker would be more appropriate.
What is the proper way to walk with a Walker?
Always make sure that your walker is firmly touching the ground or if you are using the rollator do not lift the wheels up. Place a firm grip on both sides of your walker with you hands. Move the walker and always step forward with your weaker leg first and then follow with your stronger leg.
How wide does a door need to be for a Walker?
ADA compliant doors must be at least 32 inches wide so it can also accommodate wheelchairs. But in a lot of homes, there are doors with a width of 30 inches. Most of standard walkers and wheelchairs will fit through that width.
How to size a walker?
To select the right height and size for you, just step inside the walker and check your elbow bend. To do that, keep your shoulders relaxed and place your hands on the grips. Elbows should bend at a comfortable angle of about 15 degrees.
Now with relaxed arms at your sides check your wrist hight. If you have wheels on the walker it also could affect the ease of use on different terrains. Wheel sizes of standard versions vary from 6 to 8 inches. The weight limit of the walker can affect wheel size. Some walkers have size wheels from 4 to 5 inches.
How heavy is a Walker?
Standard walkers usually weigh from 5 to 6 pounds. Walkers with front wheels are a little heavier and their weight is around 8 pounds. Heavy-duty and bariatric walkers are even heavier because of the reinforced frames and stronger components.
They weigh from 7 to 12 pounds. Standard three or four-wheel rollators weigh from 15 to 18 pounds. Some lightweight walkers with wheels weigh 13 to 15 pounds. Heavy-duty walkers with wheels weigh from 20 to 25 pounds.
Do Walkers fold up?
Yes. Most of both types can fold. Standard walkers and walkers with wheels can fold up if you want to have such version.
How to climb stairs with a Walker?
To walk upstairs with a walker should be a very careful and slow process.
Before you start to climb up turn your walker sideways so the crossbar is facing you. Then place the front two legs of the walker on the first step. With one hand hold the walker and with the other hand hold the stair rail. Use the walker and the stair rail to evenly support your weight. Step up with your better foot to the front two legs of the walker. And follow with your second foot.
Best walkers for seniors reviewed:
Best basic walkers (no wheels)
These are great for people looking to put their weight on a frame for balance and support. They are lightweight aluminium and allow for slow, steady movement.
Drive Medical 10200-1 Deluxe
This is a foldable, no-wheeled, four-leg walker made from aluminium. The folding element of the walker is facilitated by easy pushbuttons, which can be used with your fingers or side of the hand.
Reports of using this device for supporting body weight are good, but as a precaution be aware that this frame may be too small for larger seniors.
Best wheeled walkers (two wheels)
The two wheeled walker has two wheels on the front or back. This enables maneuvring with ease, while also providing some support.
Medical Deluxe Two Button Folding Walker
Unlike the previous models, this comes with two front wheels and each side operates independently. This allows for maneuvering through narrow spaces while providing stability while standing. It’s made from aluminium and is a good choice for seniors looking for some standard daily support.
Users say that it is a good, sturdy, lightweight walker. However, they acknowledge that it’s hard to get the caps off the legs to put sliders on them.
Able Life Space Saver Walker
This two-wheeled walker is amazing for seniors who want something compact and easy to move and store. It folds to 4x smaller than the average walker.
Reports mention that this is a great and lightweight roller, however it may be slightly difficult to adjust the height at times. A good option for those wanting to maximize functionality while limiting space it takes up.
Best rollator walkers (four wheels)
The four wheeled walker is exactly as described, each leg has a wheel at the bottom and you can scoot along with the walker. This is for people who have a good balance and might not need much support. It often comes with a basket, so you can use it to move your groceries and other shopping around.
Drive Medical Rollator with Removable Back Support and Padded Seat
A four-wheeled model, this rollator walker comes with a padded seat which can be great for taking rests. There’s a zippered pouch underneath. It’s easily assembled and is great for seniors using it for injury recovery.
OasisSpace Ultra Folding Walker with Wide Seat
This has a unique design, which allows for adjustment of the width of the rollator (the four-wheeler). This is done with a folding mechanism, which has earned it a great reputation. However, it can be difficult to open the
Drive Medical Nitro DLX Euro Style Walker
With excellent steering and comfort, this padded walker is a great rollator choice. It easily folds up with one hand. Reports indicate that it’s a great choice for people needing support and daily help with walking. The attractive, neat look of the rollator has also been commented on, and so it’s great if you want something with a little flair.
NOVA Traveler 3 Wheel All Terrain Walker
This is three wheeled rollator walker featured, this is definitely one to consider for those who want to maneuver in diverse and small spaces. It folds away quickly and neatly, too. It has handbrakes for that extra control as well. Parking and locking the walker are made very easy by the brake system itself.
However, it is important to note that the
Mobility walkers are one of the best walking assistive devices. These aids can make a big difference in being independent. However, there are also some alternatives like assistive canes, crutches or wheelchairs. These are all great devices for getting that extra bit of support needed to help with your mobility.