Guide to Walking Aids: Improve Stability & Reduce the Risk of Falls
It’s a fact of life that as we grow old our bodies become frailer. As a result, issues with balance, stability and strength can make it difficult for people to safely move around and accomplish their daily tasks. If your loved one is struggling to walk, a mobility aid can help them remain independent and reduce the risk of falls. But how to choose the right one considering the variety of mobility walking aids on the market? This guide will provide you with a quick overview of the most commonly used aids so you can make an informed decision.
A great tip when purchasing mobility walking aids is to have the person’s unique needs in mind. If the person is only experiencing light to moderate walking issues, a walking cane can be a suitable choice. The standard cane is made of a wooden or metal shaft with a handle that curves at one end. Some walking canes can have height-adjustable shafts and be fordable which makes them easier to store when not in use. While the standard cane only has a single point touching the ground, there are also quad canes with four small legs attached to the bottom for greater stability.
Walkers, or also called walking frames, are recommended for people who have mild to moderate trouble walking and experience problems with stability. Because it consists of two metal handles and four distinct legs, a walker provides a more stable and firmer base than a cane. However, with a walker, the user can’t walk in the standard pattern and needs to repeatedly stop with each new step. If this is troublesome for the user, there are always walkers with wheels on the front two legs which do not require the frame to be constantly lifted.
Rollators are similar to walkers with the difference that they feature wheels on all legs in addition to hand brakes and seats. They are very popular due to the fact that they offer a great level of stability and can function as a seat for taking a break if the user becomes tired. Some rollators also contain a basket for holding personal belongings or groceries
Crutches, used as a single aid or in a pair, are often used when an injury or surgery prevents people from putting weight on their leg or foot. They are designed so that the person can bear his weight under his arms and therefore put less stress on the hands and wrists as opposed to other walking aids. There are also forearm crutches which are secured to the person’s forearms for greater stability.