Did you know that one out of every three seniors falls each year? While fall prevention is a crucial concern for all, what can caregivers and family members do to help their loved ones stay safe? Mobility walkers are a great way to help seniors stay mobile and safe, but with all of the different options on the market, how do you choose the best walker for your loved one?
It all boils down to these five essential factors:
- Weight Capacity
- Handlebar Length
- Terrain Versatility
Choose a Mobility Walker with a Weight Capacity that Meets Your Needs
Mobility walkers come with weight capacities ranging from 45 to 120 kg. It's important to find one that can safely and comfortably accommodate your loved one's weight. You don't want them struggling to lift the walker or feeling uncomfortable while using it.
To check this, you should look at the frame. There are two primary types of frames: four-wheel wagons and three-wheel scooters. The four-wheel wagon has a wider base than the three-wheel scooter. It's more stable if your senior needs help to get in or out of it or if they're using it on rough terrain. On the other hand, the three-wheel scooter feels more like a chair than a walker and is easier to manoeuvre.
Consider the Length and Height of the Handlebars
The handlebars on mobility walkers can vary in length from about 60 to 80 cms. They must be long enough to allow your loved one to push the walker at a 90-degree angle comfortably. The longer they are, the more you can expect your loved one's arms and hands to fatigue. When the handlebars are too short or too long, this can be uncomfortable for your loved one and make it more challenging to use.
Moreover, it can even affect their ability to steer the walker. It's also important to note that many of these mobility aids are adjustable between heights of 60 and 95 cms. This gives you greater flexibility in choosing one for your loved one. If they're particularly short or tall, you can find one that's just the right height for them.
Consider the Wheel Size
The size of a mobility walker's wheels can vary quite a bit. Bigger wheels, especially those with pneumatic tires, absorb shock and provide a smoother ride. However, they're also more difficult to navigate through tight spaces-while smaller caster wheels are lighter and easier to manoeuvre but don't offer as much stability. What are their specific needs? When will they be moving around often? Think about these things when making your decision.
Choose a Mobility Walker with Terrain Versatility
Not all mobility walkers are created equal. Some are better suited for specific types of terrain, while others can be used on multiple surfaces. If your loved one uses the walker primarily indoors, you may want to consider a model with small wheels. If they spend a lot of time outdoors on surfaces like grass and gravel, then it might be best to choose one with larger wheels.
What About the Legs?
Most mobility walkers have four wheels and leg attachments. If your loved one is moving often, you might want a model with removable legs or ones that can fold up when not in use. This will make it easier to move from place to place. When the legs are in use, they provide extra stability and keep the walker from tipping over.
Mobility walkers are an excellent way for seniors to stay mobile and safe. By considering all the five factors: weight capacity, handlebar length, wheels, terrain versatility, and legs, safety and fall prevention can easily be ensured. While we all want them to experience living an active and independent lifestyle, we must also recognise their limitations and take precautions to ensure they get the most out of it. Getting the right mobility walker could mean preventing an injury or even saving their life!