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Walkers - How do I choose the right one for me?

You may need a walker for any number of reasons. All kinds of health conditions can create body weakness, a loss of balance or stability, or the need for extra support while healing or recovering. Walkers have long been used for physical therapy, developing strength and offering independence when someone might otherwise feel unsafe moving around.

Standard walkers are three-part metal frames that someone can lift and place in front of them to move safely within their home, or wherever they need. Some walkers have four rubber feet, some people will put two gliders on two of the four feet for easier maneuverability and other walkers have two or four wheels to further increase speed and ease of movement.

When choosing a walker there are several things to consider:

1. How heavy is the walker? If the user has insufficient arm strength, the walker may not be as helpful as it could be, so carefully consider the weight of the walker before you invest. If you or your loved one doesn’t have the strength to lift the walker, they may want to consider a rollator instead, which can move easily without lifting.

2. Do you want wheels? Wheels certainly make it easier for the walker to maneuver in any space, but sometimes, without brakes to help, wheels can actually make walkers less stable, which can create a hazard for the user. Consult with your health practitioner on this one and make sure you have a solid recommendation from them before you buy!

3. How wide are your door frames? Walker width is a big deal if you have narrow doorways. No one wants to catch their knuckles on a door frame because the walker is too wide for the door – but likewise no one wants a walker that is too narrow to easily maneuver.

4. Do you need the walker to fold up and go in the car? Make sure when you’re selecting your walker that you check for this feature. Less expensive walkers may not be foldable, and you want to make sure you have this feature if you need to be able to take the walker to different places.

5. Don’t forget storage! Some walkers come with storage, but most do not. That means you may need to buy a walker basket separately. Walker baskets can be really helpful in the home if you need to move things on your own without the aid of other people.

SkyBlue Tip: For inside or outside the home, consider getting a lightweight backpack or cross shoulder bag. You want your hands to be free and clear no matter what you’re doing so you can gain maximum benefit from your walker for stability – but you still need to be able to transport items around! Also, invest in a water bottle that you can use reliably – this way you can stay hydrated even if you can’t currently walk around with a glass of water!