It’s no secret that as we age, it becomes increasingly important to maintain our mobility in order to lead active and independent lives. Whether due to an injury or illness, loss of coordination, or simply a decline in fitness, walking can become difficult as we get older. That’s why walkers for seniors can be such a valuable tool. Designed specifically with the needs of older adults in mind, walkers for seniors provide the necessary support and stability for those who may struggle with balance or have other medical issues that inhibit their ability to walk with ease.
A quick Amazon search for walkers will return tens of thousands of results. From no wheels to four wheels, folding, with a seat, without a seat, with brakes…the options can be overwhelming. However, in this guide, we will discuss the health benefits of walkers, the different types of walkers available, and how to choose the right walker for your needs. This will help you quickly narrow down what kind of walker is best for you. We’ll also provide tips on using a walker safely and effectively to improve your mobility and quality of life.
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Health Benefits of Walkers
Whether walking through the comfort of your own home or around the neighborhood, using a walker provides added support and safety, putting less strain on your body and allowing you to walk further distances. For older adults, this can translate into both physical and mental well-being.
Walkers allow mature adults to recoup the myriad health benefits of walking even when they may be struggling with age-related health conditions that make mobility difficult. A low impact form of exercise, walking has been shown to have a significant impact on cardiovascular health. Research shows that even small increases in the amount of walking can improve circulation and lead to reductions in heart disease risk. Walking may also lower your chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes, and it can aid in the management of blood glucose levels if you already have diabetes. Walking has additionally been linked with maintaining healthy bones, reducing the risk of fractures, and improving joint pain and stiffness. All of these benefits can be achieved by using a walker, making it an excellent tool for mature adults looking to improve their physical health.
Mental Health and Independence
In addition to the various health benefits walkers for seniors can provide, there are also benefits for your mental well-being. Studies suggest that exercises such as walking improve brain function and allow aging adults to retain their cognitive abilities longer. Other research has shown that walking can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. For those struggling with loneliness or isolation, getting out for a walk with a walker can offer much-needed social interaction. Walking with a walker can also help you to remain independent, as it can allow you to continue doing many of the things you love even when your mobility is limited.
When choosing a walker, it’s important to remember that size indeed matters. If a walker is too big or too small, it can be difficult to use and may not provide the support that you must have, though most walkers are adjustable to a certain extent. Considerations must be taken into account for the size of the user (height and weight) and the size of the environment in which it will be used to include the width of doorways, hallways, and other spaces you’ll use the walker. For these reasons, it is important to get properly fitted for a walker before making a purchase. Especially if you plan to purchase a walker or rollator on Amazon or other online store, you’ll want to make sure your measurements are accurate so you buy the right size.
How to Size a Walker
To find the proper fit for your walker, first, determine your wrist height. This is done by standing comfortably with your arms hanging freely at your sides and measuring the distance from the floor to your wrist. The height of your walker’s grips or handles should be this far away from the ground. You don’t want to have to bend over or reach up to grab the handles of your walker to use it properly. Rather, your walker should accommodate your height and allow you to walk upright with a normal gait, which helps avoid pain in your back and arms.
Remember that a walker is not meant to support your full weight as does a wheelchair. It is instead intended to support your leaning weight—just enough to help you walk safely and securely. For this reason, walker weight is also an important consideration. A walker that is too heavy can be difficult to maneuver, and one that is too lightweight may not provide the stability you need. Most walkers are adjustable to a certain extent, but some situations may call for walker sizes that are outside of the usual range.
Tall Walkers for Seniors
Generally, standard adjustable walkers range in height from 22 to 36 inches, while tall walkers for seniors can be easily modified to 40 inches or higher. If you are a taller individual or have difficulty bending down, a tall walker may be the best option for you. These walkers also tend to have wider bases for increased stability.
Short Walkers for Seniors
For those whose height is 5’4” or shorter, a short walker may be the best option. These walkers have a lower crossbar, making them easier to maneuver for those with a shorter stature. They also tend to be more lightweight, which can make them easier to lift and carry, which makes a difference when you need to put it in your car to drive.
Narrow Walkers for Seniors
Narrow walkers are designed with flexibility in mind as they fit through narrow spaces while still providing adequate support. These walkers typically have a width of no more than 20 inches, making them ideal for those who live in small homes or apartments.
Bariatric and Wide Walkers for Seniors
Bariatric walkers are designed for people weighing more than 300 pounds or for those who want a wider, more stable option. These walkers are typically about 30 inches wide and are made from heavy-duty materials to accommodate a greater weight capacity.
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Walkers vs. Rollators
While walkers and rollators have the same essential purpose in getting you safely from point A to point B, there are a few differentiating factors that distinguish one from the other, even if the term walker is often used for both. So, what’s the difference between a walker and a rollator?
The biggest distinction between walkers and rollators is the wheels. Traditional walkers have four rubber “feet” or “legs” that provide stability and enable the walker to stand on its own. All four legs maintain contact with the ground while you move, and you must pick up the walker to move forward. A rollator, on the other hand, is often described as a rolling walker with a seat. It has wheels instead of legs and does not need to be lifted to move forward. Hybrid rolling walkers look more like traditional walkers but have two legs in the rear and two wheels in the front. As they are lifted, the weight of the walker rests on the wheels, so the walker can slide forward for easy movement.
Walkers Pros and Cons
Walkers are typically the best choice for those who require more stability and balance assistance but can still walk relatively well on their own with some support. Walkers can be used to support partial body weight, and they are also typically less expensive than rollators. Easily adjustable, walkers are small enough to be used indoors and lightweight enough to be easily lifted and transported in a car when you want to go for a drive. Most models also offer a folding feature as well, and some models even come equipped with a roll-up or folding seat. They are also the best choice for those who need only mobility assistance temporarily after an injury or surgery.
However, walkers can be difficult to maneuver as they require more upper body strength to lift and drive the device forward, making them a poor choice for people with limited arm strength or mobility. Additionally, most standard walkers do not come with an adjustable height seat or storage options.
Rollators Pros and Cons
A rollator is an excellent choice for those who can balance themselves but need a seat to sit frequently and have a place for carrying things like oxygen tanks or other necessities. Rollators offer more features than walkers, including storage options, adjustable height seats, and hand-operated brakes for stopping and slowing down. The swivel wheels of a rollator allow for optimal maneuverability and a faster pace than a walker, which can be important for those who want to stay active.
However, all these features come at a cost; a rollator is more expensive than a walker and can be difficult to transport due to its larger size. They also require more space for storage—even the folding models—and are not a viable option for those who have difficulty with balance or certain medical conditions.
Walkers Without Wheels
If maximum stability is what you require, a standard walker (one without wheels) is generally your best option. Simple and lightweight, these height-adjustable devices provide support on all four sides and have no wheels, so they cannot be pushed ahead of you, making them ideal for patients who are unsteady on their feet. This stability of the four-legged frame allows users to bear their leaning weight on the walker without fear of tipping. This makes walkers without wheels a viable choice for patients who have to bear a significant amount of their weight on the device. Standard folding walkers are commonly recommended for people with an unsteady gait as well as for those are unable to control the wheels of a rollator.
Standard walkers can provide a sturdy mobility option for patients recovering from hip replacement or other surgery as well as those with bilateral lower extremity disease. Lightweight and easily adjustable, they are also the most affordable option available, and folding makes for convenient transportation. However, walkers without wheels can be difficult to maneuver and require sufficient upper body strength to lift and advance the walker while walking. They also lack convenient features such as seats, storage baskets, and hand brakes that can be found on their rolling counterparts.
Walkers with Wheels
If you’re looking for a little more mobility, walkers with wheels (also called rolling walkers) might be the right choice for you. The added wheels offer increased maneuverability and speed, while still providing necessary support. Rolling walkers typically have hand brakes that allow users to control their speed and stop as needed. Some even come with seats, storage baskets, and other features that can make them more user-friendly. Walkers with wheels are available with two, three, or four wheels depending on the needs and preferences of the user.
Two-wheeled walkers, also called front-wheeled walkers, have wheels on the front legs only. The back legs are equipped with rubber tips that offer increased stability and allow the walker to be used without the added worry of tipping over. Since the two wheels are on the front, two-wheeled walkers for seniors don’t have to be lifted with each step. Rather, they can be pushed in front of the user. This makes them a good choice for those who need a walker for balance but have adequate arm strength to push it ahead of them.
Two-wheeled walkers are also more lightweight and compact than three- or four-wheeled walkers, making them easier to maneuver in tight spaces. However, they are not as stable as three- or four-wheeled walkers and are not recommended for older adults who have difficulty controlling their walker or lack upper body strength.
Perhaps the most maneuverable walker option available, three-wheeled walkers, also known as three-wheel rollators or tri-walkers have one wheel on the front and two on the back. Their compact three-point design makes them an ideal choice for those who must have a tight turning radius for navigating narrow hallways or other small spaces. They take up minimal space and can be easily advanced with one hand.
And while three-wheeled walkers are very maneuverable, they can potentially be unstable on uneven surfaces and are generally not recommended for use outdoors. They also require more upper body strength to control than four-wheeled walkers or rollators.
For those who are looking for a little extra stability, a four-wheeled walker (also known as a quad or four-wheeled rollator) might be the right choice. The four-wheeled rollator has wheels on all four legs, making it the most stable rolling walker option available. They also provide the smoothest ride and can be easily pushed over small bumps or uneven surfaces.
Four-wheeled walkers are a viable option for users who need a little extra stability but still want the maneuverability that comes with wheels. However, they tend to be larger and more difficult to transport than three-wheeled walkers or rollators.
Walkers with Seats
While standard walkers are generally designed only for walking, many 3 and 4 wheeled walkers or rollators also offer users a height adjustable seat for resting when they want to take a break. Seated walkers offer convenient means for users who need a place to rest during long walks or periods of standing. They also typically come with storage baskets or pouches for carrying personal belongings.
Users simply engage the hand brakes and turn around to sit on the padded seat when they want to take a break. When they’re ready to walk again, they can disengage the brakes and continue on their way. This makes walkers with seats a desirable choice for those who require a little extra support and stability, but still want the independence to walk when they’re able.
While a walker with a seat offers many benefits including a place to rest and storage for belongings along with standard folding capabilities, they can also be bulky and difficult to transport, so they may not be the best choice for those who need a more compact folding walker option.
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Upright Walkers or Forearm Walkers
Upright walkers, also known as forearm walkers or rollators, are designed to promote good posture and provide support for the arms while walking. They offer a serious advantage over traditional walkers for seniors and rollators in that they put less strain on the back and shoulders. While traditional walkers may cause you to stoop forward to grasp the handgrips, the handles of an upright or forearm walker are positioned at a height just above the elbow. Your forearms lie on the padded armrest while you walk, taking the pressure off your wrists, hands, and shoulders.
This relatively new upright design essentially requires the user to walk with good posture which can help improve breathing and reduce back pain. In addition, forearm walkers are often easier to control than standard walkers or rollators and can be used one-handed if necessary. And because they’re easy on the arms and shoulders, forearm walkers are often recommended for those who have had a stroke or other upper-body injury.
Traditional walkers require upper body strength to control, which only becomes more difficult as we age. Upright walkers or forearm walkers, on the other hand, can be controlled with little to no upper body strength, making them a good choice for users who may not have the same level of strength and dexterity as they once did. If you plan on using a walker long-term, an upright or forearm walker could be an ideal means to maintain your mobility and independence.
Walker/wheelchair combinations offer users the benefits of a walker and a wheelchair in one convenient mobility device. It is essentially a four-wheeled rollator (walker with wheels) that can be easily transformed into a lightweight wheelchair. These hybrid models are ideal for those who require the stability of a walker but also want the option to sit down and rest when needed.
Walker/wheelchair combinations offer seniors the best of both worlds: the independence to walk when they are able, and the ability to sit down and have a helper move them forward when needed. They are also ideal for patients recovering from an injury or surgery as they allow for a gradual return to walking. And as they are typically more lightweight than traditional wheelchairs, walker/wheelchair combinations are easier to transport. Taking a drive to the park with friends or family is much easier with these combination devices as users have the option to walk or ride depending on their needs. And because they are so versatile, walker/wheelchair combos can be used both indoors and outdoors, making them a good choice for those who want to remain active.
While these convertible models can initially be more expensive than walkers or wheelchairs, they offer a certain level of freedom and flexibility that may be worth the investment for those who need it. Instead of debating about which walker or wheelchair to bring or buy, a walker/wheelchair combo gives the option to have both and eliminates the need to purchase two separate mobility devices.
If you find yourself needing a mobility device due to a temporary medical issue such as after an injury or surgery on a lower extremity, a handicap walker may be the best option. Handicap walkers are essentially knee scooters that provide users with the ability to move around without putting any weight on their affected foot or ankle. Handicap walkers have either three or four wheels and are propelled forward as the user pushes off with their good foot. The injured leg rests comfortably on the knee pad, and the walker glides smoothly forward, providing much-needed support and stability.
These mobility devices have become increasingly popular in recent years as they offer a more comfortable and efficient alternative to crutches. For many mature adults, crutches are difficult to use and can be very painful on the armpits. Handicap walkers, on the other hand, provide a more comfortable option that doesn’t require the same level of arm strength, making them ideal for seniors who may not have the same level of upper body strength as they once did. These walkers distribute weight evenly and allow users to remain active and mobile throughout their recovery.
Walker Attachments and Options
For a truly personalized mobility device, walker attachments and options offer seniors the ability to create the walker that best suits their needs. There are a variety of walker attachments on the market from caddies and trays to cup holders and shock absorbers. These attachments can be added to most any walker and are easily found at most medical supply stores or online retailers like Amazon, giving users the ability to customize their walker to meet their specific needs and preferences. Some common walker attachment options include:
Platform attachments provide users with an elevated armrest, supporting your forearms and shoulders which makes using a walker easier for those with limited grip strength or hand function.
For walkers that will be used outdoors, shock absorbers can make the ride smoother and more comfortable even if the path is a little bumpy.
For walkers with metal handles, grip covers provide a softer surface that is easier on the hands.
Baskets, bags or pouches attach to the front of a walker and provide convenient storage so you can take your necessary items with you on the go. This is especially helpful for those who do not have adequate arm strength to carry a purse or bag.
Glides attach to the legs of walkers and make it easier to move over uneven surfaces such as grass or gravel. Ski glides attach to the front of the walker and allow users to slide their walker instead of lifting it with each step.
Seats and Seat Cushions
Many walkers come with built-in seats so you can take a break when needed. If your walker doesn’t have a seat, there are a number of aftermarket seat options available.
For those who like to have a drink with them on the go, cup holders easily attach to your walker and provide a handy storage option for your favorite beverage.
For those who like to walk at night or in dimly lit areas, flashlight or LED attachments are a necessary safety option.
Whatever your specific needs, there is a walker attachment or option available to meet them. Customizing your walker ensures that it is the perfect mobility tool to help you stay active and independent. Many of these options can be purchased as aftermarket additions on Amazon or other online retailers. You may even be able to save a few extra dollars on items you replace regularly, such as glider balls or seat cushions, with the Subscribe & Save program from Amazon.
Brakes for walkers
As we age, simple everyday tasks can become more and more difficult. Just like many other physical activities, walking can be a challenge for many seniors. The key to maintaining independence is to keep moving, but this can be difficult when dealing with balance issues or other problems getting around. Aging causes our reflexes to slow down and our balance to become less steady. This can make even simple activities like walking around the block a risky proposition. That’s why many seniors choose to use a walker. That’s where brakes for walkers come in. With brakes for walkers, you don’t have to let age slow you down. They provide much-needed support and stability, giving seniors the confidence and control they require to keep moving. Brakes also help to protect against falls and can be easily added to most types of walkers. With the help of brakes, seniors can stay active and independent well into their golden years.
Do walkers require brakes?
Do walkers have to have brakes? The answer is both yes and no. If you are planning on using your standard walker primarily indoors, then brakes may not be necessary. However, if you will be using a rollator or taking your device outdoors or expecting to drive it on uneven surfaces, brakes can be a lifesaver.
There are two main types of brakes: hand brakes and foot brakes. Hand brakes are operated by squeezing a lever, while foot brakes are engaged by pressing down on a pedal with your foot. Both types of brakes can be effective, but hand brakes are generally easier to use. Many walkers also come equipped with locking mechanisms that allow you to lock the wheels in place when you are not using the walker. These locking mechanisms can provide additional security and peace of mind, especially for those who are concerned about falls.
Brakes can also be categorized as either manual brakes or automatic brakes. Manual brakes are operated by the user, while automatic brakes are engaged when the user leans on the handlebars. Both types of brakes are effective, but automatic brakes are generally considered to be safer because they’re less likely to be forgotten or disengaged. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use brakes on a walker is best left up to the individual user. However, for people who are at risk of falling or who have difficulty controlling their walker, brakes can be a lifesaver.
Can aftermarket brakes be added?
Aftermarket brakes can be added to walkers, but it is important to choose the right type of brake for your needs. There are several factors to consider when selecting aftermarket brakes for your walker or rollator, including weight capacity, size, and intended use. The type of terrain you plan to drive on is also an important consideration. If you’re planning on using your walker on rough or uneven terrain, you’ll want to choose brakes that can handle the extra stress. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the brakes are compatible with the make and model of your walker. Fortunately, there are a variety of aftermarket brakes available, so finding the right ones should not be difficult.
How much do aftermarket brakes for walkers cost?
When it comes to brakes for walkers, there are two main types based on their manufacturers: aftermarket brakes and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) brakes. Aftermarket brakes may or may not be manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer, while OEM brakes are made by the same company that made the walker and these types of brakes generally come attached to the walker. Aftermarket brakes usually cost less than OEM brakes, but they may not be as durable or well-made, so be sure to research them well and not just buy anything off of Amazon. OEM brakes, on the other hand, are more expensive, but they’re also more reliable. So, when it comes to choosing between aftermarket and OEM brakes, it’s important to consider your needs and budget. If you’re looking for a durable brake that will last a long time, OEM is probably the best option. However, if you’re on a tight budget, non-OEM aftermarket brakes may be an acceptable choice.
Aftermarket brakes for walkers typically cost between $30 and $60, depending on the type of brakes and the manufacturer. Some people feel that aftermarket brakes are essential, while others believe that they are not necessary. However, there are a few things to consider when making a decision about whether or not to purchase aftermarket brakes for your walker. First, if you live in an area with hilly terrain, aftermarket brakes can help you to stay safe while walking by preventing your rollator from rolling away. Additionally, if you frequently walk on uneven or slippery surfaces, aftermarket brakes can provide additional traction and stability. Finally, if you have wrist or hand pain, aftermarket brakes can help to reduce the amount of effort required to stop your walker. Be sure to read reviews on Amazon or other sites that carry medical supplies before making your final choice on the best brakes for you.
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What are the risks associated with using a walker?
Walkers are devices that are meant to help people be mobile when they have difficulty walking on their own. They provide support and allow people to move around with more ease, but they also come with a few risks. A danger of using a walker is that it can lead to a loss of balance and possible falls. This is especially true for people who are not used to using them or who have weak upper body strength. If you do use a walker, be sure to practice using it in a safe place where you can grab something if you start to fall. Other risks associated with walkers include blisters, calluses, posture problems, and sore muscles from overuse. Walkers can also cause problems for people with arthritis as they put extra pressure on the joints. Despite these risks, walkers can be beneficial devices for people who require help getting around. With proper training and precautions, they can help people stay mobile and independent and in control.
Falls are the most common type of injury associated with walkers. Improperly fitted walkers or rough terrain may provide an unstable base of support and can cause users to lose their balance. The risk of falling is especially high for older adults, who may have less strength and coordination. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults aged 65 and older falls each year. Falls can cause fractures, head injuries, and even death. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among older adults. According to research, this highly vulnerable population suffers frequent injuries and hospitalizations due to falls caused by walking aids. A more comprehensive study of walking aid design is required based on the results of this study. To develop specific and effective fall prevention strategies, more information about the circumstances preceding falls is also needed. This risk is why it is so important to fit and use your rollator or walker properly.
When you have the handles too high or too low, walking with a rollator can be challenging. A low rollator handle causes you to bend over, causing neck and back pain. A rollator with grips that are set too high causes you to walk behind it, not being able to take advantage of the device’s proper support. Often, when walking on conventional rollators, the folding seat is placed too close to the legs, and there is not enough space for the legs to move. Thus, you end up walking too far behind. You should use a rollator which allows you to slide the folding seat forward so you can put the grips closer to your hips by taking a step into it. With the correct rolling technique and posture, walking with a rollator is not difficult. But it does involve the correct type of device that meets your specific needs based on your height, weight, and physical abilities.
Tips to avoid posture problems
Walking is a low-impact activity that has many health benefits, including improved circulation, better joint range, and increased muscle strength. However, if you walk with a rollator, it’s important to maintain a healthy posture to avoid any injuries. Here are a few tips to help you feel better and drive your rollator more safely.
Keep your head up
Good posture is important for overall health and can help prevent pain in the neck, back, and joints. When walking, it is especially important to maintain good posture. Consider your spine to be a string that extends through your head. It is important that that string remains completely straight at all times. To help achieve this, focus on shifting your hips and shoulders and the top of your head so that they’re all in line. It’s a best practice to also keep your eyes and gaze forward, focusing on a spot about 7 to 10 meters ahead of you. This technique will help you avoid dropping your head down toward your chest as you walk. Finally, be sure to use a walker with big wheels. This will allow you to keep your head up since you won’t have to watch where the front wheels are going. A rollator with big wheels or a rollator with climbing capabilities is even better since it will allow you to walk more easily over uneven surfaces. By following these tips, you can help ensure good posture while walking and avoid pain or other problems down the road.
Keep your back straight
When it comes to posture, there are a few things you can do to avoid pain and stress on your neck and back muscles. First, keep your back straight. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to focus on elongating your back while you walk. Second, avoid hunching, stooping, or leaning forward. These all put stress on your neck and back muscles, which can lead to pain and medical issues. This will help you avoid tension headaches and feel more relaxed overall. By following these simple tips, you can help improve your posture and prevent pain.
Keep your shoulders relaxed
Many of us don’t realize the importance of good posture and shoulder placement until we start experiencing pain in those areas. It’s important to keep your shoulders relaxed and not tensed up while using a rollator walking technique. If your shoulders are hunched forward, it might be a sign that you’re straining your muscles and joints. Shoulder shrugs can help ensure that you’re keeping your shoulders loose and the head in the proper position. Additionally, if you start to experience pain in your shoulders, neck, or upper back, it’s important to consult with a doctor or physical therapist to ensure that you’re using the proper technique and preventing further injury. With the right posture and shoulder placement, you can prevent pain and enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle.
Exercises for improving posture
Good posture isn’t just about looking good, though that’s certainly a nice bonus. Maintaining correct posture throughout the day can lead to a number of benefits for your overall health and avoiding unnecessary medical issues. Good posture helps you develop strength, flexibility, and balance in your body, which can lead to less muscle pain and more energy throughout the day. Additionally, proper posture reduces stress on your muscles and ligaments, which can reduce your risk of injury. Furthermore, improving your posture makes you feel more in control of your body by making you aware of your muscles. As you improve your posture and become more self-aware, you might even notice some imbalances or tight spots that you weren’t aware of before. In short, there are countless reasons to focus on maintaining good posture throughout the day. Next time you find yourself slouching, consider sitting up straight and enjoy the plethora of benefits good posture has to offer.
If you are experiencing problems with your posture, consider the following exercises. As always, be sure to consult your doctor or other medical professionals on your medical team before attempting a new exercise routine. They may have a few to add to this list as well, and not everyone should try all of these exercises. If you experience pain during an exercise, it’s best to stop and contact your medical pros before trying them again. Again, get the approval of your doctor first and avoid doing these exercises without help, especially if you have medical conditions.
The child’s pose is a restful pose that stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes, and hamstrings. It helps to release tension in your lower back and neck. In order to perform this pose, sit on your shinbones with your knees together, your big toes touching, and your heels splayed out. Put your hands in front of you and bend forward at your hips. Back away from your feet and sink your hips down. Support your thighs by placing a pillow or folded blanket beneath them if they won’t go all the way down. Turn your head to one side or place your forehead on the floor. Rest your arms along your body or keep them extended. Focus on your rib cage and waist while you breathe deeply. Continue to breathe deeply while in this pose for up to 5 minutes. This pose is great for anyone who wants to release tension in their lower back and neck or who wants to stretch their spine, glutes, and hamstrings.
This stretch releases tension in your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. Here’s how to do it: Place your big toes on each other and separate your heels slightly. Fold forward from your hips by bringing your hands to them. Place your hands on a block or the floor. Regardless of whether your hands touch the ground (they probably won’t), just go as far as you can. Let your spine lengthen by bending your knees slightly, softening your hip joints, and allowing your hip joints to move. Let your head hang heavy as you tuck your chin into your chest. 60 seconds is the maximum time you should remain in this position. This stretch also stretches your hips and legs. Your entire back should open up and lengthen while you do this stretch.
You can stretch and massage your spine by practicing cat cow. Additionally, it promotes blood circulation and relieves tension in your torso, shoulders, and neck. To do this exercise, put your weight evenly on all four points of your body by coming up onto your hands and knees. As you extend your spine, inhale to look up, lowering your abdomen toward the ground. As you exhale, your chin should be tucked into your chest and you should arch your spine toward the ceiling. Doing this exercise for at least a minute is recommended. These stretches help promote good posture by keeping the spine in alignment while also teaching you to control your breath. Additionally, this simple movement can help to increase flexibility in the spine and reduce pain from sitting or standing for long periods of time. The next time you’re feeling stiffness in your back or neck, take a few minutes to practice some cat-cow stretches if it’s okayed by your medical advisors. You may be surprised at how much they can help!
Standing cat cow
Many of us experience tightness in our backs, hips, and glutes at some point in our lives. Sitting for long periods of time, carrying heavy bags, or even just sleeping in an uncomfortable position can all lead to stiffness and soreness. The good news is that there are stretches that can help to relieve this tightness, including the standing cat-cow stretch. To do this stretch, stand with your feet about hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Then extend your hands in front of you or place them on your thighs. Next, lengthen your neck, bring your chin toward your chest, and round your spine on an exhale. Next, lift your chest and move your spine the other way as you inhale. Each position should be held for five breaths. Continue this movement for a few minutes. You should start to feel relief in your back, hips, and glutes after doing this stretch. Remember to be patient; it may take a few rounds of the stretch before you start to feel results.
Most of us don’t think about our posture very often. We go about our day-to-day activities without giving them a second thought. However, the way we carry ourselves can have a big impact on our health. Poor posture can lead to muscle aches and pains, fatigue, and even respiratory problems. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re standing up straight and sitting with good posture. An easy way to improve your posture is to do this simple chest-opening exercise. It only takes a few minutes, and you can do it anywhere. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms behind you. Interlace your fingers and press your palms together (if you can’t reach them, grasp a towel). Gaze straight ahead and lift your chest toward the ceiling as you bring your hands toward the floor. Breathe deeply and hold for five breaths. Release and relax for a few breaths before repeating 10 times. This exercise is especially useful if you spend most of your day sitting, which can cause your chest to move inward and lead to poor posture. By strengthening your chest muscles, you’ll be able to stand up straighter and feel less pain in your back, shoulders, and neck. So, next time you find yourself slouching, take a few minutes to do this easy exercise.
Thoracic spine rotation
Have you been dealing with pain and tightness in your back? Other than being incredibly uncomfortable, this can also make it difficult to move around and be mobile. If you’re looking for relief as well as increased stability, you may want to try this exercise. Come down onto all fours. Place your left hand behind your head with the elbow extended out to the side. Keep your right hand under the shoulder or bring it to center, resting on the forearm. Exhale as you rotate the left elbow up toward the ceiling, stretching out the front of the torso. Take a long inhale and exhale in this position. Release back down into the original position. Repeat this movement 5 to 10 times before repeating on the opposite side. Not only will you likely feel relief from tightness and pain after doing this exercise, but you’ll also notice an increase in stability and agility.
How Much Do Walkers Cost?
The cost of walkers for seniors can vary greatly depending on the type and features you choose. A basic folding walker without any attachments or options can be found on Amazon for just under $30 while specialized devices with all the bells and whistles can cost upwards of $3,000. Factors such as frame material, weight capacity, and wheel type can all affect the price of a walker.
If your budget is tight, there are a number of ways to save money on the cost of a walker. From Amazon to your local durable medical equipment provider, most retailers offer discounts on walkers, and some even offer financing options to make the purchase more affordable. Additionally, many medical insurance plans will cover at least a portion of the cost of a walker if it is prescribed by a physician.
When choosing a walker for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to find one that meets both the functional and financial needs of the user. The initial investment may be higher for a walker with more features and attachments, but in the long run, that walker will be a better value if it meets your needs and lasts longer. And since walkers are often covered or subsidized by Medicare or private insurance, be sure to check with your provider to determine if they will cover the cost of a walker for you. With so many price options on the market, there is sure to be a walker that works for your needs and budget.
Will Insurance Pay for a Walker?
If you have Medicare or private insurance, there’s a good chance that your policy will likely cover a significant amount of the cost of a walker. Walkers for seniors are considered durable medical equipment according to Medicare. This means that if your doctor has prescribed a walker as medically necessary for you, Medicare will generally cover at least a portion of the cost. To be eligible for reimbursement, your walker must be from a Medicare-approved supplier and be prescribed by a medical provider enrolled in Medicare.
For those with private insurance, durable medical equipment coverage varies greatly from plan to plan, but in most cases, walkers will at least partially be covered by insurance. As with Medicare, you’ll have to have a prescription for your walker, and it must be from an in-network supplier to be eligible for reimbursement. You may also be required to pay a deductible or copayment before your insurance will cover the cost of the walker.
If you need a walker but are worried about the cost, there are a few things you can do to get your insurance to help cover the expense. First, check with your insurance provider to see what coverage is available for walkers. If your policy covers walkers, be sure to find out what type of walkers are covered and if there are any limitations on coverage.
Next, talk to your medical provider about why you need a walker. Your doctor will be able to write a prescription for a walker if they feel it is medically necessary. This prescription can then be used to purchase a walker from an approved supplier.
Finally, submit a claim to your insurance provider for reimbursement. Most insurance providers will require both a copy of the doctor’s prescription along with a receipt for the walker (including those purchased online from Amazon or other retailers) to process the claim. Once approved, you should receive reimbursement for a portion of the cost of the walker.
If you have an FSA or HSA program to help pay for medical expenses, Amazon has a handy feature. You can check a box for “FSA or HSA Eligible” when you search on Amazon and it will narrow the search results for you. Be sure to keep your invoice for backup. Amazon is a handy way to buy replacement parts and accessories, even if you purchase your walker elsewhere.
For questions about whether your insurance will cover the cost of a walker, it’s best to contact them directly for more information before making your purchase.
Aging brings many healthcare related questions and challenges, but a Care Navigator from 1 True Health can be your trusted and knowledgeable ally.
Pros and Cons of Preowned Walkers
Walkers for seniors can be a big investment, and you may be wondering if it’s worth it to purchase a new one or if you should try to save money by buying a preowned walker. Used options are readily available on Amazon, but there are pros and cons to both options. So it’s important to weigh your choices carefully before making a decision.
New walkers typically come with a warranty, so if something goes wrong with the device, you will likely be able to recover any costs associated with repairs or replacements. Preowned walkers, on the other hand, don’t usually come with a warranty. This means that if something goes wrong with the walker, you could be responsible for all repair or replacement costs. New walkers also tend to have the latest features and are required to follow current safety standards. If you’re looking for walker with specific features, such as a bult-in seat or storage basket, you may not be able to find them on a preowned model.
The biggest advantage of buying a preowned walker, however, is the cost savings. Preowned walkers can be a fraction of the cost of new walkers, so if you’re on a budget, this may be the best option for you. Just be sure to do your research and only purchase a preowned walker from a reputable source.
The Best Places to Buy a Walker
The best place to buy walkers for seniors is typically a medical supply store or an online retailer (including reputable third-party sellers on Amazon) that specializes in durable medical equipment. These stores usually have a wide selection of walkers to choose from, and the staff is generally knowledgeable about the products they sell.
If you prefer to save the drive and purchase from an online retailer, even one on Amazon, be sure to do your research and only buy from a reputable source. Read customer reviews (readily available on Amazon) and make sure the website is secure before entering your credit card information.
If you prefer to do business at a brick-and-mortar location, bear in mind that there are several large retailers such as Wal-Mart or CVS that sell walkers. However, the selection in these types of stores is usually limited and the staff may not be as knowledgeable about walkers as you would find at a medical supply store.
No matter where you choose to buy your walker, be sure to do your research and make an informed decision before buying. Walkers for seniors are a big investment, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best possible value for your money. With a little bit of effort, you should be able to find the perfect walker for your needs.
Who Needs a Walker? Conditions That Contribute to Mobility Problems
There are a variety of medical conditions that can contribute to mobility problems for seniors in addition to the natural aging process. These can include everything from arthritis to Parkinson’s disease. If you believe that you or your loved one could benefit from the use of a walker due to the following conditions, be sure to consult with a healthcare professional. These conditions also often come with medications, lifestyle changes, and other challenges. Working one-on-one with a Care Navigator can help patients with chronic health conditions stay on top of their health and keep their care well-managed. [link to 1 True Health]
Arthritis is one of the most common conditions that can lead to mobility problems for mature adults. Arthritis is a degenerative joint condition that can cause pain, stiffness, and inflammation. It can make it difficult to walk, climb stairs, or even stand up from a seated position. If you suffer from arthritis, using a walker can help take some of the pressure off your joints and make it easier for you to get around.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is another common condition that can lead to mobility problems. COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. This can make everyday activities such as walking very difficult. Using a walker can help those who suffer from COPD get around with less difficulty and stay active.
Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative neurological disorder that affects movement. People with Parkinson’s often have trouble walking and may experience tremors and stiffness. If you suffer from Parkinson’s, using a walker can help you maintain your mobility and independence.
Heart disease is another condition that can negatively affect mobility. Conditions such as congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease make it difficult to walk because they reduce the amount of oxygen that gets delivered to your muscles. Using a walker decreases the amount of effort it takes to walk and can help you to stay active longer.
A stroke can also lead to mobility problems. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain is cut off, causing damage to your brain tissue. This can cause paralysis on one side of your body and make it difficult to walk. If you have suffered a stroke, using a walker can help you regain your mobility and independence.
Diabetes is another condition that can contribute to mobility problems. Diabetes can cause nerve damage, which can make walking a challenge. Using a walker can help take the pressure off of your feet and legs, making it easier for you to get around.
Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. This can make them more likely to break, which can lead to mobility problems. If you suffer from osteoporosis, using a walker can help you to avoid falls and maintain your independence.
Obesity can impact a person’s mobility in a few different ways. Excess weight can put strain on the joints, making it difficult to walk. Obesity can also lead to conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, which can further contribute to mobility problems. If you are obese, using a walker can help you to get around with less difficulty and help you stay active.
For more support managing these and a variety of other medical conditions, consider the health monitoring services of a trusted care management provider.
The Right Time to Begin Using a Walker
For some older adults, the decision to start using a walker is an easy one. They may have already reached a point where they are struggling to get around without one. For others, the decision may be more difficult. The right time to begin using a walker will vary depending on your individual circumstances, though the most obvious indicators that it may be time are difficulty walking or maintaining your balance. Other signs include feeling tired or short of breath after walking short distances or having to stop frequently to rest.
In general, it’s best to consult with a medical professional if you think it may be time to commit to a mobility device. They will be able to help you make the decision that’s right for you.
Learning to Use a Walker and Walker Safety
Using a walker or rollator can help you maintain a mobile, active lifestyle but only if it’s used properly. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get used to your walker before attempting to use it in busy areas or for long distances. New walker users are strongly encouraged to seek the guidance of a medical professional or therapist to address your specific needs.
Safely Using a Walker
When you’re ready to start using your mobility device, be sure to keep the following tips in mind:
- Never use the walker to pull yourself to a standing position as this could cause the walker to tip over. Rather, push yourself up using the arms of a chair, couch, or other sturdy object.
- Stand with both feet within the frame of the walker and grasp the handles firmly.
- Lift the walker slightly and take small steps forward, then step back into its frame.
- Keep the walker close to your body; advancing the walker too far can cause you to lose your balance.
- To change directions, stop the walker and pivot it in the direction you want to go before attempting to drive the device forward.
- To sit back down, first stop the walker and then position yourself as close as possible to your seat (touching the back of your legs) and slowly lower yourself down.
- Always wear non-skid shoes.
- Keep your gaze ahead, not on your feet, to avoid trip hazards.
Safely Using a Rollator
While many of the safety tips for using a rollator are the same as for using a walker, there are a few additional things to keep in mind:
- Be sure the brakes are locked before sitting down or getting up from the rollator.
- Keep the rollator close to your body as you walk.
- A rollator does not have to be lifted; it will glide or roll forward on its wheels.
- Never attempt to walk up or down stairs using a rollator.
While walkers for seniors can come ready to use right out of the box, others will require some assembly. If you’re not sure how to assemble your walker, be sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions. In general, though, most walkers can be assembled following these steps:
- Place the walker frame on a level surface and open it up so that if forms an “X.”
- Next, attach the front legs to the walker using the bolts provided.
- Then, add the back legs and crossbars, again using the bolts provided.
- Finally, add any handgrips or other accessories that came with the walker.
For additional guidance, be sure to check out your specific model’s assembly and usage instructions. Many manufacturers even offer video tutorials as well.
Walker Maintenance and Replacement Parts
To keep your walker in good working condition, it’s important to perform regular maintenance checks. At a minimum, you should inspect your walker before each use to make sure that all parts are secure and there are no loose bolts or missing parts.
It’s also a good idea to keep a few replacement parts on hand, such as extra bolts and washers, in case something does come loose. That way you can fix the problem right away without having to wait for new parts to arrive. Other parts you can plan on replacing regularly include rubber tips and walker wheels. When shopping for replacement parts, be sure to consult the manufacturer’s guidance to ensure compatibility. Most importantly, if you ever feel as though your walker is not safe to use, do not hesitate to contact the manufacturer or seek help from a medical professional.
If you have Amazon Prime, you may be able to save some money on items you replace regularly, including wheels and grips, with the Subscribe & Save program from Amazon.
Indoor and Outdoor Use of Walkers
While most walkers for seniors are designed for both indoor and outdoor use, there are a few design features that make certain models more suited for one environment or the other. For instance, walkers with large wheels are better for navigating rough terrain, while lightweight walkers with smaller wheels are easier to maneuver indoors. If you’ll be using your walker primarily indoors, look for models with rubber tips that won’t mark up your floors.
For outdoor use, pay attention to the width of the walker’s base; a wider base provides more stability on uneven surfaces. You may also want to consider a walker with built-in storage, such as a basket or pouch, for carrying personal belongings with you on your walk.
- Be aware of the surface you’re walking on. Uneven or slippery surfaces can be more difficult to navigate with a walker.
- If possible, stick to smooth, level surfaces like sidewalks or paved paths.
- In inclement weather, take extra care to avoid slick spots like puddles or ice.
- If you need to walk on grass or another uneven surface, consider using a walker with wheels designed for all-terrain use.
Traveling with a Walker
If you’re planning on traveling with your walker or rollator, there are a few things to keep in mind whether you’re planning a short drive or a long flight. First be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine if your walker can be dismantled for easy transport. Frequent travelers often find it helpful to invest in a lightweight walker with a folding or collapsible frame. Some folding walkers even come with built-in carrying handles or straps to make transport even easier.
While flying, you may need to check your walker as luggage. Most airlines will allow you to bring a walker or rollator on board free of charge, but it’s always a good idea to call ahead and confirm the airline’s policies. If you’re planning to drive, be sure to secure your folding walker in the trunk or backseat so that it doesn’t move around as you drive. When packing your folding walker for travel, be sure to also include any replacement parts or accessories you might need, such as extra tips or wheels.
It’s also important to consider how you’ll be getting around once you reach your destination. If you’ll be relying on public transportation, make sure that your walker is small enough to fit through the door of the bus or train and lightweight enough to manage. And if you’re renting a car to drive, be sure to reserve one that has storage large enough to accommodate your walker.
When a Walker is Not Enough
While walkers offer increased mobility and independence for many mature adults, there are some situations where a walker or rollator is simply not the best option. If you or your loved one has difficulty using a walker for more than short periods of time, is unable to walk without pain, or experiences regular falls, a wheelchair may be a better option. Wheelchairs may also be the best choice for patients with significant weakness on one side of the body or those with advanced dementia.
If you’re unsure whether a walker or a wheelchair is the right choice for you or your loved one, talk to your doctor or physical therapist. They can assess your needs and make recommendations based on your individual situation. No matter what type of mobility aid you use, with a little bit of planning, you can ensure that you or your loved one remains safe and mobile throughout their golden years.
Because Staying Mobile Means Staying Independent
The wonderful thing about walkers for seniors is that they enable you to navigate your environment with confidence, giving you the freedom and security you need to keep on living an active lifestyle. Whether you’re going for a stroll by the ocean or just getting around your own neighborhood, walkers help you stay in charge of your own life. So if you want to stay on the move without jeopardizing your independence, a walker or a rollator just may be the key to staying active and engaged!
Maintaining your independence as you age can be a major challenge for many. With age often comes medical and mobility issues that can make it more and more difficult to get around on your own. That’s why so many mature adults are turning to 1 True Health for help to stay active and independent for years to come.