Buying a cane or walker is a pretty simple process. You need to consider the users size & weight, and their overall balance impairment to choose the right product. For those that are looking for one of these mobility aids we have some information below to help you with those considerations.
You’ve got to use them for them to work
The challenge for many users is overcoming the stigma they feel when they use a mobility aid. “It makes me feel old and weak” is a common refrain. But consider the statistics on falling. 1 in 3 Canadians over 65 will have a serious fall this year. As we age our vision and balance decline slowly, it is a natural process and we are more susceptible to falls. But when a senior falls the result of serious injury is significantly higher than in younger people. According to the Journal of Acute Care Surgery, elderly people (over 70) are 20% more likely to sustain more complicated long-bone fractures, 3 times more likely to have pelvic fractures, and 20% more likely to encounter traumatic brain injury. The long term effect of a fall frequently has a negative impact on quality of life and independence.
Walker or Rollator – Which should you choose?
“Walkers” and “Rollators” are ideal aids for people who require extra stability to overcome balance impairments. They can significantly reduce the risk of falling while enabling walking indoors and outdoors. Most walkers and rollators are foldable, come with adjustable legs, wheels and walkers have rubber feet to prevent slipping.
A basic walker without wheels is the most common type of walker available on the market as it provides the most stability and support. Generally, basic walkers are used indoors and work well for individuals who have relatively good arm strength, as these walkers must be lifted with each step.
Walker with Wheels
For more maneuverability a “walker with wheels” usually have standard rubber feet at the back and two wheels in front. This mobility aid is helpful for individuals who walk too fast for a standard walker, but also have difficulties lifting. The benefit of a walker with wheels is that they are great for the outdoors and help individuals move over more difficult terrain.
Rollators have 4 wheels and brakes with a locking system for user safety when sitting. Intended for those who lack arm strength, cannot walk long distances and need to sit and rest as they go. Rollators can be used indoors or outdoor and include storage baskets or bags. DO NOT PUSH PEOPLE ON A ROLLATOR, they are not designed for this.
As we all know, exercise is good for our bodies and our mental health. These aids are designed to help people stay active.
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Author: Mark Beaton, Sr. VP of Marketing - BIOS Medical