Sometimes we all need a helping hand!
If walking has become stressful, and anxiety inducing, if you have difficulty balancing or tire quickly, perhaps it is time to consider a a little assistance.
But, exactly what kind of assistance do you need? With the abundance of options available, how do you know which one is right for you?
We are here to help. Here’s what you need to know when choosing between a cane, a walker, or rollator.
Please note: The below article is intended to guide your decision making, but if you still feel overwhelmed or unsure – reach out! We are always here to lend a helping hand. Even if its just a little advice. With 75 years of experience in the mobility aids department, we can help you choose the best aid for you.
Simply drop us an email at a[email protected], whats app: 076 869 7061 or call 021 797 0034.
Which mobility aid do you need?
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
1. Are you experiencing STABILITY issues when you walk?
2. Are you struggling to stand up from a seated position
3. Do you need help with balance, but are capable of supporting your own weight when standing or in motion.
4. Are you dragging your feet?
5. Have you noticed yourself holding the furniture for balance?
6. Are you always tired or out of breath after walking?
7.Are you afraid of falling?
The answers to these questions will determine the mobility aid best suited for you.
2 For SUPPORT OR BALANCE – Choose a rollator
If you struggle to stand up, but feel quite confident when in motion, if you are able to walk, at a fairly even gait, fairly independently, but just need a little extra support with balance. something you can lean on, then a rollator will be most suitable for your needs.
Three or four-wheeled rollators are best for people who need help with balance but are capable of supporting their own weight standing or in motion.
The 3 wheeled rollator is most suited for those who walk at a faster pace and do not require intermittent resting stops
The 4 wheeled rollator is best suited for those who still enjoy considerable mobility but require intermittent assistance and rest.
3. For REASSURANCE AND CONFIDENCE – choose a cane
Even if stability is not an issue, the sad truth is, our bodies tire and weaken with age. Our joints get a little more creaky. A cane provides support, alleviates pressure, removes any fear of falling and achieves increased stability and independence – making walking a little more comfortable. With a cane, both your balance and stability will be immensely improved and your fears will be mitigated by its support.
The selection of the best device for you is therefore determined by degrees of user mobility.
On a sliding scale, it would look something like this:
- 3 Wheel Rollator – more about balance than support. User can move fairly independently, at speed
- 4 Wheeled Rollator – you enjoy considerable mobility, but require intermittent assistance and rest.
- 2 wheeled walker – you don’t need quite as much support, as a 4-frame walker provides. But, are not quite stable enough to use a four-wheel rollator.
- Standard walker – need to lean on a device for support, and move at a slower pace.
- Cane – you Just need the reassurance of support every now and then
Additional Considerations: Refining your choice
Most walkers and rollators are height adjustable. Make sure the one you choose is or can be set to the correct height for you.
You can find the best height position by standing as straight and as close to the frame (between the handles) as you can.
Your elbows should be slightly bent.
If the handles are set too high you may experience neck or shoulder pain, and if it’s too low you’ll be stooping, which may cause back pain.
The height may need to be adjusted a little as you practice walking, and get more comfortable with your chosen aid.
Remember this is your primary point of contact. Your hands and wrists will bear a lot of your weight. So, you want to ensure maximum comfort and maximum grip.
Foam grips are always a good comfortable default option, But, if you find you are prone to weakening grip with time, then rubber grips are recommended
If you struggle with sweaty palms and moisture, we would suggest plastic grips.
3. Foldup and stowaway
These days most walkers and rollators offer a foldup and/or foldaway function. That said, there are degrees of portability and foldability. So, be sure to pick one that meets your particular needs. If you travel a lot, make sure the walker or rollator you select is lightweight, easily manageable, and can be folded quickly into a small enough size for transport. Ask the specialist assisting you to fold the walker or rollator down for you. That way you know exactly the level of convenience on offer, and its suitability and adaptability to your needs.
4. Do you need a seat?
If you tire quickly, consider a rollator with a seat.
5. Hand brakes.
All three and four-wheel rollators should be equipped with brakes. When the brakes go on, the rollator shouldn’t move until you squeeze the handles and release the breaks
6. Do you need a basket?
Most rollators have baskets. Either on the front rail or underneath the seat
Now that you have asked yourself the hard questions, lets refine your options:
Remember, 90% of all falls are preventable. So, make a wise and informed, considered decision today, that can maintain and protect your health, your quality of life and your independence tomorrow. There is no safer bet than a walking aid to keep you stable on both feet.