Keep on Walking
Whether you’re popping to the shops, or just pottering around the garden, a walker can help you to keep your independence. It’ll give you something to lean on if you’re feeling a bit weak or unsteady, and the extra support can help to ease aches and pains.
There are two main types of walker. David Walter, mobility specialist at Living Needs, explains how to choose the one that’s right for you:
Basic walking frame
A basic walker either has just two small wheels at the front, or none at all. You lift the walker slightly as you step forwards. Basic walkers are mainly for use inside, although they can also help you to move around your garden if the ground isn’t too soft.
Also called a rollator, a wheeled walker makes it easier to move around, as you don’t have to lift it with each step. There are different styles and models available, including ones with seats, and baskets or bags. Some rollators have three wheels, but four wheeled walkers tend to be more stable and easier to manoeuvre.
When choosing a walker, the main points you’ll want to consider are:
- Will it take me where I need to go?
- Is it comfortable to use?
- Will it keep me safe?
- Does it have all the features that I need?
Will it take me where I need to go?
Where are you mainly going to use your new walker? Do you need a smaller model for moving around your home, or a sturdier one for walking around town? Or do you need something that has the flexibility to get you wherever you need to go?
If you’re going to use your walker outside, you’ll probably want one with wheels that can negotiate curbs and uneven terrain. It’ll need to be made with materials that can cope with our British weather. A good sized basket or bag is also handy.
Is it comfortable to use?
You’ll want to make sure you can lean on your walker comfortably, so ergonomic or padded handles are a good idea. The walker also needs to be properly set up for you by a professional. If it’s too high, for example, it won’t give you the support you need, and if it’s too low, you might get backache. A walker with a seat can be a good investment.
Will it keep me safe?
A good walker should be sturdy enough to support your weight and have reliable brakes to make sure you don’t slip.
Does it have all the features that I need?
You’ll want to think about how you’re going to use your walker, and where you’ll be storing it. A foldable walker is handy if you want to store it inside a cupboard, or pop it in the car boot when you’re going for a drive.
I know it seems there’s a lot to think about. A walker can make a big difference to your life, so it’s important that you’re given the support you need to choose one that’s right for you. I always advise people to get properly assessed by a professional who can explain all of the different options and recommend the mobility aids that are most suitable.
At Living Needs, we take the time to get to know you, and find out exactly what you need. We’re more than happy to visit you at home – just call us on 01271 374600. You can also pop into our showroom, halfway down Mill Road in Barnstaple. Look for Living Needs above the door.