What Should I Consider When Buying a Walker?

A Kaminsky

A walker is a life-changing medical appliance. It enables an older person to maintain or increase his or her mobility, and may also help a younger person maintain mobility in place of crutches. Most are made of tubular, lightweight aluminum. It is strong enough to support a person's weight, yet light enough to be maneuverable. What should a person think about when buying a walker?

The size of a walker should be considered when purchasing one.
The size of a walker should be considered when purchasing one.

Since a walker is used to increase mobility, sizing is crucial. It's crucial to make sure that any one you buy isadjustable for height. Most are, but always check.

A walker with large wheels may be more difficult to push, but easier to maneuver on rough roads, while smaller wheels may be easier to push, but more susceptible to getting stuck in cracks in the road.
A walker with large wheels may be more difficult to push, but easier to maneuver on rough roads, while smaller wheels may be easier to push, but more susceptible to getting stuck in cracks in the road.

Years ago, every walker had four legs that ended in rubber stoppers, and that was it. That model is good for some people, but older people who don't have the strength to lift the device for every step may need the front legs to end in wheels. Most models come with this option, but again, checking in advance is a good idea.

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Those who rely on a medical walker may also need other mobility aids, such as a stair lift to access upper floors of their home.
Those who rely on a medical walker may also need other mobility aids, such as a stair lift to access upper floors of their home.

You should also make sure that your walker fits according to width. A larger person would probably be uncomfortable with a narrow walker. It might also hinder mobility. Also, check the size of the model.

A good walker has handles, rubber stoppers, and a small seat.
A good walker has handles, rubber stoppers, and a small seat.

Another thing to consider is accessorizing. Sounds strange, doesn't it? However, most people need some kind of caddy or basket that fits the front of the walker. These baskets are indispensable for convenience. People can place drinking mugs, eyeglasses or a telephone handset in the basket so they can carry items as they walk. The basket functions as an extra pair of hands.

Price is also a consideration, depending on the kind of medical coverage a person has. In the US, Medicare may or may not pay for a walker — it depends on the situation. The same holds true for Medicaid. Insurance may or may not cover it. Since it isn't medication, it is usually up to the insurance company.

Someone who needs a walker can either go to a business that sells medical equipment or look for a used one. It isn't unusual for people to sell walkers in the classified section. A new model, depending on the size and manufacturer, may sell from anywhere between 100 and 200 US dollars (USD). Used versions sell for much less, but a buyer should always check the size and fit before purchasing.

Four-wheeled walkers are generally more stable than two-wheeled walkers and also offer a seat for the elderly or disabled to use when needed.
Four-wheeled walkers are generally more stable than two-wheeled walkers and also offer a seat for the elderly or disabled to use when needed.

Discussion Comments

tribulus

First off, to really target the use of a good walker to your medical situation or to your need, you must consult a licensed physical therapist in your area. The physical therapist will know what is for you the right height, length, special accessories or needs for your walker. There are so many out there to choose from and only a rehabilitation doctor and a licensed physical therapist can work on you closely in choosing the right walker for you.

Mr. Fernandez, Licensed Physical Therapist

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