Mobility aids are devices designed to help people who have problems moving around enjoy greater freedom and independence.
The type of mobility aid required will depend on the mobility issue or injury. Walkers are one of the most common types of mobility aids.
When Was the First Outdoor Rollator Invented?
The first US patent for a walker was called "walking aid" was awarded in 1953 to Mr. William Cribbes Robb, of Stretford in England.
Reasons why you need a walker
You cannot stand reliably on one or both of your legs (decreased weight bearing).
Fatigue or decreased endurance
The Primary Purpose of Walker
- To increase independence in daily activities (toileting, bathing, in/out of bed)
- To improve mobility in the home
- To improve community access
- To improve competitive employment
- To improve safety
- To improve limited breathing ability
- To improve exercise tolerance
Types of Walkers
- Basic Walker (without wheels)
- Best used on indoor surfaces.
- Provide the most stability for those who need a little extra help.
- Simply walkers with wheels.
- Good choice for those who want extra stability but want help traversing uneven terrain.
- Walkers with wheels on all four legs.
- Offer the greatest range of movement and the most mobility with many models offering swivel wheels and hand brakes.
- Rollators are often equipped with seats and baskets making them the perfect choice for those who are on the go.
After deciding on a type of walker, there a few additional things you need to double-check to ensure it meets your needs.
First, if you’re a large person, make sure the walker’s weight capacity will support you. And if you choose a rollator, check to see if your body can fit between the handgrips when sitting.
Also, make sure the height of the walker is set appropriately for you. To do this, stand with your arms relaxed at your sides. The handgrips of the walker should line up with the crease on the inside of your wrist.
You also need to check that the walker folds easily for transport and storage and that it’s light enough to lift into your car. Test the handgrips to make sure they’re comfortable. And, be sure you measure the doorways in your home to ensure your walker will fit through them. If you have narrow doorways consider installing “swing clear” offset door hinges as a simple and affordable way to widen them an extra two inches.
Walkers also have lots of accessories that can be added for your convenience such as food tray attachments, tote bags for carrying personal items, oxygen tank holders, and tennis ball walker glides that go over the feet of a standard walker to help it slide more easily across the floor.
While mobility aids provide a number of benefits to users, there is a risk of injury associated with their use.
Improper or excessive use of mobility aids may contribute to other injuries. Research indicates that many users are not properly trained in the use of their mobility aid, with only one-third of users receiving their mobility aid from a medical professional, and only 20 percent receiving training.
People using a new mobility aid should make an appointment with a doctor or physical therapist to learn how to properly use the device.
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