Having a walker can be very helpful as people age, and their mobility is affected. This is especially true if your loved one has decided to age in place, as a walker highly promotes safety.
In addition, there are different types of walkers—for instance, some have wheels and some do not—making how to choose a stand-up walker imperative, as all patients have different needs.
Read on to learn how to choose a stand-up walker, the different types, and other points to consider.
Different Types of Walkers
There are several different walkers, and your loved one needs to know how to choose a stand-up walker for comfort and safety. There are walkers with wheels and walkers without wheels. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, walkers and straight stand-up rollators are different. A walker provides a slower experience, while a rollator typically has wheels, hand-operated brakes, and a seat for resting. When considering how to choose a stand-up walker, different types of walkers include:
- Standard walker. This is a lightweight, folding walker with no wheels that is very easy to use. With each step, it must be lifted off the ground, so it’s wise to install residential wheelchair ramps over thresholds for safety.
- Two-wheel walker. This walker looks very similar to a standard walker, but it has two wheels in the front for more mobility. Also, when considering how to choose a stand-up walker, the patient must put their weight on this type of walker while using it, in comparison to a standard walker, which requires the ability to lift with each step.
- Upright walker with seat. While regular two-wheel walkers provide more mobility than standard ones, an upright walker with a seat allows the patient to rest should they need to. It’s important to note this is still a two-wheeled walker and not an upright rollator walker or a standing rollator.
- Upright rollator walker. This type of walker typically has four wheels, a seat for resting, a small area for storage, and hand brakes to stop the walker. These offer a lot of mobility but also allow the patient to rest. These come in different weight capacities, and there are several types of rollators. When you’re mulling over how to choose a stand-up walker, it’s important to note the features of each one. A height-adjustable rollator allows you to adjust the height and the seat. A three-wheel rollator is a good choice for some, as it is more lightweight than its four-wheel counterpart and is easier to maneuver in tight spaces. Accessibility ramps are wise ideas for all types of walkers.
Once you’re familiar with the different types of walkers, there are other points to ponder for both caregivers and patients regarding how to choose a stand-up walker.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Stand-up Walker
A stand-up walker is meant to cause comfort and mobility, not discomfort or fatigue. You might ask, “Is an upright walker better?” The answer to this question is subjective and depends on your specific needs. What do you need help with? Do you become fatigued while walking, or are you looking for more support and stability?
What Are Your Specific Needs?
One of the most important things to consider when it comes to how to choose a stand-up walker is your specific needs. For support and stability needs, a stand-up, two-wheeled walker is best. However, this is a drawback for those who become fatigued while walking, as it has no seat. Therefore, this type is best used for shorter distances but is also optimal for maneuvering outdoors.
If fatigue is an issue, a two-wheeled walker with a seat or rollator is good. Both provide mobility and support. However, rollator types usually have more comfort features than a two-wheeled walker with a seat.
The Fit of the Walker and Grips Comfortability
The fit of the walker is also important when it comes to how to choose a stand-up walker. It would be best if you were completely comfortable while using the walker. You want to ensure you get the proper walker for your weight (for walkers with seats and rollators), but you also want to ensure the handle height is perfect. This stands true for all types of walkers. If you’re crouching while using the walker, it’s not the right fit. You also want to make sure the grips are comfortable and do not irritate your hands. You have to put your weight on two-wheeled walkers, so a comfortable grip is imperative.
Where Are You Using Your Walker?
You also want to consider where you’ll be using your walker. Standard walkers are good for inside the home, while two-wheeled walker types are a better fit for the outdoors. Rollators are a good choice for constant use because of their comfort features.
Will Medicare Cover My Walker?
Many patients also have the concern—are stand-up walkers covered by Medicare? This is a muddy area. Some manufacturers of walkers do not take Medicare, although many do. If you have Medicare Part B and your physician says a walker is medically necessary for you, Medicare will cover some of the cost but not all.
Storage and Portability Needs
The last thing to consider is portability and storage. Standard walkers fold up easily and can be placed in tight spaces. Other walkers, however, may not be as portable. This is an important feature to consider when you are wondering how to choose a stand-up walker.
To learn more about how to choose a stand-up walker or about mobility products that can be life-changing, such as wheelchair ramps and stairlifts, contact Williams Lift Co. today. We want both patients and caregivers to live their best lives possible.