You often see someone with a cane or a walker when you visit a nursing home; many patients use them to help stay mobile as they age. Because of this, walking aids are often associated with aging—however, there are many reasons why someone would use a walking aid, and just as many kinds of walking aids and walking aid accessories as there are people who need them. Read on to learn more.
Why Would Someone use a Walking Aid?
There are many reasons someone would use a walking aid. While age is certainly a factor, it is important to note that old age alone does not equal the need for a walking aid. Typically, a walking aid is prescribed to help users maintain balance or improve their gait. For example, someone who is recovering from a stroke may need to use a cane or walker, regardless of their age.
People with weakened muscles may also use walking aids to support them as they move to avoid falling over. While these things are typically associated with age, they can happen to anyone.
Different Aids for Different Lifestyles
There are many walking aids to suit different lifestyles. Depending on how much postural support someone needs, their options for walking aids can vary. For example, canes are great for people with moderate mobility limitations and can be used for many activities outside of extra everyday stability, like hiking or mountain climbing.
Walkers and rollators, on the other hand, are meant to provide users with a higher level of stability and do not have much use outside of getting around on relatively flat surfaces. Unlike canes, they can be accessorized to better suit the user’s needs.
What’s the Difference Between a Walker and a Rollator?
Walkers and rollators may look the same initially, but have two key differences—rollators have wheels and seats on them. Typically, rollators are made for people with very limited mobility who may not be able to carry the weight of a walker, or need to sit down and rest frequently while walking. Other than that, walkers and rollators are pretty similar. Both are made of light metal or plastic, can be adjusted based on height, and can be accessorized to suit the user’s needs.
Most accessories for walkers and rollators are to improve the user’s quality of life. Since users need both hands to stay balanced, walkers and rollators can come with baskets to carry things. Alternatively, these baskets can be attached to the walker itself. Among baskets, cases for oxygen tanks, cupholders, trays to hold food, and carry-on bags function similarly. For walkers, glides are a great option for keeping the walker’s feet from deteriorating over time, reducing noise, and making it easier to push around.
Canes, walkers, and rollators can be adjusted to fit the user’s height. In the case someone is taller than the max height of their walking aid, extensions can be purchased to accommodate. Always be sure to read the instructions before attempting to adjust your device!
If you or a loved one is looking to purchase a walking aid, speak with your primary care physician. To browse walking aids, accessories, and other daily living aids, visit Medical Supply Depot.