Making the decision to invest in a walking aid is a significant step for an aging family member. Often, these decisions come after a period of worry and anxiety about decreasing mobility. If your loved one has decided that it's time for a walker, here are some tips to help you choose one that will be both supportive and comfortable.
Measuring for a Walker
Have your loved one stand at ease with his or her arms down to the side. If balance is a concern, stand beside a counter or table. Then, use a tape measure to measure from the crease of the wrist (the part that creases when you move your hand) to the floor. Make sure that your loved one is wearing his or her normal shoes, because sole thickness can affect the measurement. This tells you the height that you need for the handles of the walker.
If your family member needs a rolling walker, you also need to consider seat height. Measure from his or her knee to the ground to ensure that the seat height is correct. Otherwise, you risk falls when trying to sit down or stand up.
Assessing the Weight
The walker needs to be light enough that your loved one can move it alone. Make sure that he or she can lift and fold it up as necessary independently. This may mean opting for a walker made from a lighter weight material, but make sure that you don't sacrifice stability.
Don't lock yourself into a single style of walker. Even if the measurements are certain, look for a model that offers adjustments. This way, if there's any change in height due to an injury or other problem, it can be adapted to suit.
Ensuring Safety Features
When the investment is in a rolling walker, make sure that the brakes are not only secure but easy to operate. Sometimes, the brake control can be too tight for seniors to move, making it difficult to lock the wheels. Oil them if necessary to make sure that the levers move properly.
Testing Out Models
Before you make a commitment to any model, consider talking with a medical supply specialist who can let you examine several different styles. This way, your loved one can try out a variety of walkers to determine which one feels most comfortable and stable.
If your family member has reached the point where stability is a concern, a walker or other support may be necessary. With the tips here, you can choose a walker that is the proper size and function. (For more information, contact MediChair Calgary)