Walkers are a safe, cost-effective, and flexible way to help the seniors, who are dealing with mobility and balance issues, to maintain their active lifestyle. A good walker can be a game-changer for seniors who are struggling with reduced mobility. They allow them to go out and engage themselves in recreational activities instead of being confined to home. Unfortunately, walkers are not one-size-fits-all. You have to look for the one that is designed for an individual’s specific needs. The best walker will make it easy for the seniors and reduce the risk of falls. The reason why and how you plan to use a walker will ensure that you pick the right one. To help you find the ideal walker, we have compiled a list of the best walkers for seniors along with a detailed buying guide to inform you of everything you need to know. We have analyzed product features, customer reviews, and prices and put a link for the product for easy buying.
Various Types of Walkers
A medical walker can be helpful for getting the necessary stability and balance for seniors who require some assistance with mobility. Understanding the various options in the market is the first step in choosing the right one. Generally, there are three types of walkers; standard walkers, rollator walkers, front-wheeled walkers.
It is a simple frame of lightweight aluminum with four rubber-tipped legs. A person can lean on it slightly for support. The standard walkers provide the steadiest support of all the available options. They allow only a fairly slow-moving and they may not be good for uneven surfaces. Also, they are not suitable for those who lack upper body strength as you have to lift it off the ground and place it down a few inches ahead and step toward it with its support. On the stairs, you have to turn it sideways and ascend or descend with one hand on the walker and the other hand on the railing. Make sure to lead with the stronger leg when ascending.
It is similar to the standard walker, except it features non-swiveling wheels on the front legs. These wheels make it easier to use even over rough, uneven surfaces as they are designed to be pushed forward instead of lifting. It requires less effort and strength of the upper body. But, they may not be as stable as the standard walker. Some models come with removable wheels to convert a front-wheeled walker into a standard walker.
They are also referred to as rollators. They feature three or four wheels with one wheel on each leg and they have hand-operated brakes. Some of these wheels swivel for easier turning. They are suitable for those who have good balance and only require light support. They usually have a pouch or a storage basket. The ones with four wheels feature a seat where you can sit for rest breaks. They can be used both indoors and outdoors. Rollators are heavier than the other walkers and are harder to fold up.
Factors To Consider For Buying The Best Walkers For Seniors
The best walker for you is the one that suits you well and meets all your specific needs. Walkers are available in different sizes and with different features. To choose the best walker, you need to consider what suits your situation well. Below are a few things to keep in mind while choosing a walker.
Look for the walker that isn’t too heavy for you. You need to consider the weight especially when you are planning to buy a standard model as you have to lift it off the ground to move. Also, you might want to consider the weight while buying a wheeled walker if you will be carrying it up on the front stoop or loading it into a car.
If you plan on using the walker indoors as well, it should fit through the doorways in your home. Some homes have only 22 inches wide bathroom doors so make sure to check yours. Mostly, walkers are 22-27 inches wide at the base. Also, do consider the width of the handles as your hips should fit comfortably inside the walker. If your walker has a seat, there should be at least an inch of space on both sides when you sit down.
If the handles of the walkers are too low, you might have to hunch over to use it. If the handles are too high, it will be hard to transfer your weight to your arms. Most of the walkers come with adjustable handles. The best height of handles is where they line up with the bend in your wrists. For ideal height, look for the walker with the handles a different of an inch so that you can adjust it according to the height of your shoes or floor surfaces.
All walkers have a certain weight limit. Choose the one that fits your size. Generally, they are designed to hold people weighing up to 250-300 pounds. Some walkers can support weight up to 500 pounds so make sure to consider this to buy the right walker for yourself.
Mostly, walkers are foldable for transport and storage. For some walkers, the process of folding can be more difficult than others. Some walkers have a more complex build which makes it difficult for folding. You are going to need a lot of transport, pick the one that is easily foldable.
Rollator walkers with four wheels usually have built-in seats. If you are planning to buy a rollator, make sure to consider the height of the seat that works best for you. Some models of this type of walker do offer the adjustable height of the seat.
Rollators usually have loop brakes fixed on the handles from where they are easier to engage by squeezing the levers. For those who have a condition like a hand dexterity or arthritis, applying brakes might feel difficult. Some models come with push-down brakes that are activated when you put your weight on them.
A walker can cost anywhere between $40-$150 depending on the type and material you choose. Standard walkers are usually cheaper than the other types.