Old age sometimes knocks differently to different people sometimes accompanied by severe mobility and balance complication. As such, walking aid devices such as walkers become very important. They help to keep them more active and stable.
However, it’s advisable to exercise caution when choosing a walker. You should make sure that you select a device that best suits your needs. In case you have a medical condition, remember to consult a medical practitioner and preferably a physiotherapist. A health specialist will help you choose the best walkers for seniors with features specifically addressing your needs. Below are the three main types of walkers you can choose from:
Types of Walkers
A standard walker is a four-wheeled frame with rubber-tipped stands that one can lean on for support. They are made of aluminum material to make them lightweight. Of all the types of walkers, standard walkers are the steadiest. They are the best pick for unstable people or those with an injured leg. These walkers support a relatively slow movement and on even ground.
People without upper body strength cannot use these walkers. You must have enough energy to lift them with your hands from one point to the other. However, you can skillfully use these walkers to go up or downstairs. To use it this way, turn your walker sideways and hold it with one hand as you support the other hand on the stair railing.
Front wheeled walkers are similar to standard walkers. The only difference is that they have swiveling wheels on the front stands. The wheels make navigation over rough surfaces easier. Unlike standard walkers, which you have to lift to move around, front wheeled walkers are pushed. This makes them exert less strain on the upper part of the body.
However, this type of walkers does not offer much stability like the former. There are some convertible front wheeled walkers with removable wheels. It makes them easy to convert to standard walkers at any time.
These types of walkers have three or four wheels and hand brakes. What differentiates a walker and a rollator is the presence of wheels in all its legs. Some of those wheels swivel, making movements around very comfortable.
Rollators target relatively stable people who only require light support. Most models have a storage space, either a basket or a pouch. They can be used for both outdoor and indoor mobility purposes. However, they are best suited for outdoor activities.
The major disadvantage associated with rollators is that they are heavyweight. It is also hard to fold them up for ease of transportation.
What to Look for in the Best Walkers for Seniors
The best walker or rollator is one that best satisfies your needs. Some of the common considerations you should make include:
It’s essential to consider the walker’s width and compare it with those of its operating area. For example, if you want to use your walker indoors, you should ensure that it can fit through your doorways. Most bathroom doors range between 20 and 22 inches. So, check the size of your various doorways and that of the walker. Most walker models have a width of 22 inches on the top and 27 inches at the base.
If you consider purchasing a walker with a seat, it is crucial to consider the width between the handles as well. You should be able to fit without forcing yourself and have a tilting allowance on both sides.
This is particularly crucial in the case of standard-type walkers. You’ll need to lift your walker off the ground with every step you make. Therefore, you don’t need a walker that you will struggle to lift or leave you so strained.
It is also an essential factor with wheeled walkers if you’ll need to travel with it continually. It’s not convenient to have a heavy walker that will be hard to load and offload into vehicles.
You should choose your walker with handles height that comfortably fits your size. The handles shouldn’t be too low such that you’ll have to hunch over them. Also, they should not be too high either to force you to transfer your weight to the arms.
It is advisable to go for walkers with adjustable handles. The best height for a rollator or walker is where the handles are at level with your wrist’s bends.
If you are considering the four-wheeled rollators that have a built-in seat, the seat position is essential. Consider a height that you are comfortable to get on and off quickly. If possible, consider the rollators with adjustable seat positions.
Most rollators have loop breaks built in the handles. To apply the brakes, you have to squeeze the levers. In case you have a medical condition such as arthritis or dexterity, such brakes may be too hard for you. You can opt for the walkers equipped with push down brakes that respond to weight.
All walkers have a maximum weight limit they can support. You should look for one that can comfortably support your weight and size. Most models are designed to accommodate people weighing between 250 and 300 pounds. Additionally, other models will support up to a maximum weight of 500 pounds. You should always choose a walker that can support more weight than yours. It helps to increase lifespan and effectiveness.
Sometimes walkers require folding for transportation or storage purposes. If you know you are a frequent traveler, you may need to consider easy-to-face walkers. Folding reduces the size of your walker, making it easy to load and offload.
Also, if storage space is an issue at your house, foldability is a crucial factor. It reduces the amount of space that the walker occupies in the house.
Depending on your walker or rollator’s type and features, the cost ranges between $40 and $350. The standard walkers are the cheapest, whereas the rollators are the most expensive. Medicare Part B covers walkers, and if you are under this insurance, you’ll pay 20% of the cost. However, the walker recommendation must be from a medical officer and get if from a certified supplier.
Best Walker for Seniors
Best Rollators for Seniors
1. Medline Heavy Duty Rollator Walker
This model is an excellent product for heavyweight patients. It provides bariatric support and can support a wide range of weights up to 500lbs.
It also has a broader base with adjustable handles between 31.5 and 37.5 inches. The broad base and front rubber tires increase stability.
Another outstanding feature of this Medline’s rollator is its sturdiness since it is made from steel. It guarantees durability as it doesn’t rust and also has tenacity and strength. Even though the many extended features make this walker superior, it is bulkier, which hinders frequent mobility and passage through some doorways.
- Bariatric support makes it sturdier than most of the regular walkers.
- It is made of steel, making it very strong and durable.
- The broad base and large wheels offer increased stability.
- It has a Velcro storage pocket on its lower part.
- Its handle has brakes that are easy to apply.
- The front wheels can swivel hence can facilitate easy turning around.
- It can also be folded easily and loaded during travels.
- Doesn’t have a folding lock.
- Its broad frame is problematic as it doesn’t pass through narrow doors.
- The width between the handles cannot be adjusted.
- You cannot adjust the height.
2. Hugo Elite Rollator Walker
Instead of subjecting yourself or your loved ones to the risk of crutches, canes or standard walkers, you can go for Hugo Elite Rollator. In addition to mobility support, the product features a broad and stable seat with a backrest.
Its handlebars have an adjusting knob such that it can serve people of different heights. To assemble or disassemble it in case you are traveling is easy and doesn’t need special tools.
- Provides better mobility compared to the standard walkers.
- Has a stationary seat with comfortable backrest and an underneath bag for storing essentials.
- It has safety breaks to regulate speed.
- Has a locking mechanism when folded hence keeping it intact when not in use.
- The plastic wheels are a significant problem. They break quickly, forcing constant replacements.
- Not ideal for weak patients as folding and opening require considerable efforts.
- It is heavier and bulky compared to other models.
3. NOVA Traveler 3 Wheel Rollator Walker
This is an all-terrain rollator. Its rubber tires can endure both indoor and outdoor surfaces. The rollator can pass through most spaces due to its slim frame. On top of mobility aid, this 3-wheeler rollator has a lot of inbuilt storage space. It also has a basket, a zipped pouch, and a tray. Lack of seat, though, makes it a bit old school type.
- It is a simple and compact model easy to navigate different terrain.
- Accessible and easy to activate break systems.
- Features a vast storage space for personal stuff in case you are traveling.
- It fits in almost all doorways due to its not so wide frame.
- The height can be adjusted to serve different people.
- It folds at half hence easy to travel with as it can comfortably fit in a car trunk.
- The rubber tires are durable and work best on rough surfaces.
- It is less stable compared to the four-wheeled rollators.
- The paint on its frame scratches easily.
- If you remove the tray, the basket remains unstable.
- It does not have a seat, hence giving it an old fashion image.
4. Drive Medical Aluminum Rollator Walker
Drive Medical Aluminum Rollator Walker is a good choice for outdoor use. It has non-marring six inches wheels that make it easily roll on rough surfaces. This walker comes with extended features such as a backrest and serrated brake system. If you are a senior in need to use your rollator for an extended period, check it out.
If you are traveling, the folding process is straightforward and there are no special tools required. The build-in storage bag ensures that you have enough space for your belonging.
- The six-inch wheels enhance easy mobility, especially on rough surfaces.
- Has a removable backrest for ergonomic purposes
- Has a storage pouch for personal belongings.
- The height is adjustable.
- Has easy to use loop locks on the handle.
- Due to the addition of many features, this walker is very heavy, about 300 pounds.
5. Drive Medical Nitro Euro Style Rollator Walker
This model is the epitome of convenience and efficiency. It boasts of many customizations such as adjustable handles which makes it fit a wide range of users.
The compact design ensures that you can easily transition from smooth to rough surfaces without a struggle. In case you no longer want to use your rollator, you can simply fold it even with one hand—no specials tools required at all.
The unique feature of Drive Medical’s Nitro Walker is the caster fork system. It allows a vast turning space than the other models. It ensures that the user won’t require as much assistance from their caregivers.
- Provides better mobility and support than the standard walkers.
- It is compact and lightweight, making it convenient for use during travel.
- The caster fork system gives it a wider turning radius.
- Features soft and comfortable seat with an adjustable backrest.
- Has a braking system as an added security measure.
- All its fabric materials can be washed, making it easy to clean.
- It has very sharp edges that can pierce you if not keen or incase of sliding.
- There have been complaints of brakes failing to lock correctly.
- Its wheels are not very durable as compared to most other rollators.
Best Basic/Wheeled Walkers for Seniors
1. Drive Medical Deluxe Two Button Folding Walker
This walker offers excellent support and stability for seniors facing mobility difficulties. Its handle has cushions for increased comfort and aesthetic. The rear caps and front legs are made of rubber to improve grip.
Drive Medical Deluxe Two Button Folding Walker is one of the readily available and cheapest walkers. Its aluminum base makes it very strong and durable. It is also very sturdy and lighter than most of the typical models.
Even though its frame is not too wide, it is sometimes difficult to pass through some doorways. You can solve this by switching the wheels to face the inside of the frame instead.
- It offers great support and stability
- It has handles with cushions
- Has wheels which offer great grip
- It is very affordable
- It is wide which makes it difficult to pass through narrow doorways
2. Able Life Space Saver Walker
This walker is made in such a way that it fits through the narrowest doorways and hall passages. Its frame can recline to a seven-inch diameter when folded. This feature makes it easy to transport and store.
Despite having a simple design and being lightweight, it is one of the sturdiest models. It can support a weight of up to 400 lbs. The walker has two stationary front wheels at purchase, but you can buy the swivel wheels if you wish.
- Easily fits through doorways and corridors
- You can recline the walker
- It is easy to transport and store
- You can add swivel wheels if you so wish
- Comes with non-swivel wheels
3. Drive Medical Trigger Release Folding Walker
Drive Medical Trigger Release Folding Walker targets users with finger mobility problems. The trigger release property enables the user to close it without releasing the handle. It is lightweight, making it an ideal walker for indoor mobility. It is also strong enough to support a weight of up to 350 lbs.
The handle handgrips are made of soft materials making it comfortable to hold for longer periods. The grips are contoured to facilitate firmness and avoid possible slips.
- Very ideal for people with hand conditions
- It is light such that you will not struggle to move with the walker
- Has contoured handles
- Handles made of soft material
- It is not foldable
4. Drive Medical Side Style Hemi One Arm Walker
It is designed for use by people who need minimal support. Drive Medical Side Style HemiOne Arm Walker is also a good substitute for canes and crutches. It offers more comfort and better support to the aged or the recuperating. It is easy to fold, and you can adjust its handle heights to suit you. The arm walker is also foldable which means that it is very easy to store.
- A perfect substitute for canes
- It offers excellent support for senior citizens
- It is narrow thus offers great mobility
- Has soft handles
- Does not have wheels
5. Vive Mobility Folding Walker
If you don’t know whether you need a wheeled or just a basic standard walker, this can serve you right. The walker can be customized by adding two wheels. It is an adjustable walker whose frame you can set anywhere between 33 to 40 inches.
Even though it is lightweight, it can support up to 250 lbs. Vive Mobility Folding Walker is an ideal, pocket-friendly walker for people who want support for stability and balance.
- It is easily customizable
- It is lightweight
- Has a unique design
- It has a pouch to carry stuff
- Not as sturdy
Best Knee Walkers
If you have sustained a foot or ankle injury and can no longer sustain your body weight, a knee walker might be your best solution. This is a wheeled scooter that is often used instead of crutches. It allows you to move faster, placing one knee on the walker while your good leg propels you. Below are the top best knee walkers;
1. ELENKER Steerable Knee Walker
The knee rest of ELENKER Steerable Knee Walker has contours and ridges to keep your knee stable as you move around. Its knee rests, and the handles are adjustable. You can customize them as you want. The large basket attached in the front part is an awesome addition as you can carry all your essentials there.
- It has very comfortable knee rests
- The knee rests are customizable
- It has adjustable handles
- It comes with a large basket
- It can be difficult to navigate
2. Deluxe Steerable Knee Walker
Deluxe Steerable Knee Walker is designed for users between 4.9 and 6.6 feet, whose weight is not more than 300 pounds. It has the same features as the ELENKER model though its basket is detachable. Its 7.5-inch rubber tires can still offer smooth ride both indoors and outdoors. Additionally, the knee walker is very easy to navigate making mobility much easier.
- It accommodates a large range of height
- Has a detachable basket
- It has large tires
- It is very easy to navigate
- Can only accommodate people who are 300 lbs.
Frequently Ask Questions on Walker
When should an elderly person use a walker?
There’s no defined age at which an elderly person should acquire a walker. The timing entirely depends on an individual’s circumstances. Generally, as one age, the more it becomes hard to support their body weight. The walker and other mobility aiding devices become more necessary. Also, one can consider a walker in case of knee surgery or hip replacement. After such procedures, walkers or rollators help for easy recovery. It is vital to carry out your research before heading to the theatre.
Finally, if you are facing any mobility difficulties, you can opt for walkers. They will help you in moving about whether indoors or outdoors with steadiness.
What is the correct way to use a walker?
The best way to use a walker depends on the surface and the type of walker you are using. You should always ensure that you read the manual, and if recommended in the hospital, follow the instructions given.
What Walkers Will Medicare pay for?
The walkers recommended by a medical practitioner. You should also be covered by Medicare part B. The walker should also come from a Medicare authorized supplier.
Is it essential to measure for a walker?
Yes, it is absolutely essential. A good walker should satisfy the needs and complement the user’s deficiency. Especially users with extreme conditions such as weak bones or fractures need proper fitting walkers. The most critical walker measurement is the height of the handlebars. In other models, the seat positions may be a worth factor to check in relation to your waist. These ensure that you will be able to use the walker effectively and independently.
How can you lock the brakes of your walker?
Different types and models of walkers and rollators have different brake systems. Most of them use the brake lever. To lock the brakes, you push the lever from the handlebar and downwards until you hear a click sound. To release the brakes and start the movement, pull the brake lever up to its original position. Depending on your brake system, you can read on the proper operation method from the user manual that comes with the walker.
Are walkers for seniors available online?
Yes. Various online shops stock both rollators and walkers of different types. If you need one and don’t have access to a physical outlet, you can order online. Examples of the best outlets are Amazon and 1800Wheelchair.
Before ordering your walker online, you should at least check the customer reviews. These will give you firsthand information about the product.
Should I use a standard walker or a rollator?
The choice between a standard walker and a rollator is entirely dependent on one’s preferences and needs. Rollators are good for fragile people with less stamina. Their four wheels offer advanced mobility help without lifting. Some models also have seats and can be instrumental for smooth movements.
Standard walkers, on the other hand, are best for indoor movements. If you don’t plan to use your mobility aid device outdoors, these might be recommendable. You’ll be able to lift them as you move about in your house.
Who should not use a rollator walker?
A person experiencing stability problems, weakness while standing and those who need supporting devices should not go for rollators. These products are meant for people who can support themselves. People who need help with movement from one point to the other.
Being able to walk around on your own is part of remaining independent. There are many types of walkers available in the market. However, there are some considerations that you should put in mind before choosing the best type of walker. Remember, choosing the right walker based on your needs goes a long way to helping you achieve that objective.
We are sure that the above information will guide you sufficiently towards choosing your best fit.