The older the person, the higher the likelihood of chronic diseases and unwanted age-related changes. Damage and weakening of the musculoskeletal system, vegetovascular dystonia, dizziness, pressure drops and simply weakness in the limbs - all this causes discomfort and insecurity. Because of this, there is a reluctance to get up again without assistance, as a result of reduced physical activity, which leads to a complete loss of the ability to move independently in a house or on the street.
To help in such cases, it is recommended to use a special device - walkers for the elderly. They are much more effective than crutches or canes and suggest the presence of a wide support base, which adds confidence, helps to overcome the fear of falling and makes it possible for people with limited motor functions to move around.
Walkers are recommended for elderly and physically weakened people, for whom movement without additional support is not possible. They reduce the load on the legs and spine, add stability.
Walkers will be useful after a severe stroke, when the patient was bedridden for a long time, lost muscle tone and is afraid to walk without assistance.
Fractures in the elderly are a big problem, the rehabilitation period is long, and the need to transfer the patient to an upright position after bed rest is obvious.
With the help of walkers, the recovery process can be significantly accelerated. They are convenient in everyday life, indispensable in rehabilitation centers , medical institutions, nursing homes. The main thing is that the walker should fulfill its function 100%, be safe, as comfortable as possible, and have an optimal price for an individual purchase.
Presumably, the walkers were first invented for babies whose parents tried to save their hands and spine from overloads.
The history of the development of adult devices began in the forties of the last century, when the Lithuanian émigré Andreus Muiza proposed a four-leg frame construction, which reached the patient’s waist, as a support for weight maintenance when walking.
A little later, in the late sixties, the Swedish inventor Bernt Linder proposed the additional use of wheels on legs, which significantly improved walkers for the elderly. Feedback from grateful customers gave impetus to the development and implementation of constructive innovations in production.
Modern models equipped with wheels with a braking mechanism make it possible to comfortably move around in the house and on the street. On the seat you can relax for a walk, and the basket is convenient for transporting everything you need.
Walkers are classified by:
- place of use;
- technical features.
Depending on whether they will be used for a rehabilitation course or selected for everyday use, the models can differ significantly.
Walkers designed for indoor movement can be uncomfortable on the street and vice versa.
Technical characteristics of different models have significant differences: frame material, weight, handle configuration, the presence of wheels and a braking mechanism, seat, additional compartments for things.
Depending on the design features, walkers for the elderly can be holistic and folding, they are divided into types:
- wheeled (scooters);
- with additional support (ulnar or axillary);
Stationary models with a monolithic frame of light materials - this is the simplest design. At the initial stage, experts advise choosing such walkers for the elderly.
User reviews indicate that at first, when it is not clear which is better - a crutch, a cane or a more reliable device, it is simple models with a lightweight aluminum frame that are suitable for most cases.
They are not expensive, practical and durable. They are a simple design of four supports with handrails for ease of movement. The movement takes place inside the structure.
Such models are designed for debilitated patients, when even getting up from a chair or bed causes difficulty. Handrails in such structures are located on two levels: some are designed to stop at the time of lifting the body weight and subsequent lowering, others - for support while standing and moving around the house.
Experience has shown that two-level walkers for older patients are more convenient than the usual design, since it is during the process of getting up that a person should exert the greatest effort, and just the handrails at the right level provide additional support and create the conditions for such a push.
Walkers with step effect
This version of the supporting device is a modification of a simple stationary design, characterized by a hinged connection of the front bridge with the right and left half.
Such a fastening does not allow a person to move the entire structure at once, but separately each side of it to the beat of a step. The model is more suitable during the period of active rehabilitation to develop coordination of movement.
Thanks to the fixation of the articulated joints, walking walkers for the elderly quickly turn into a rigid stationary structure, which is very convenient at different stages of the rehabilitation period.
A simple version of mobile walkers involves the presence of small diameter wheels on the front supports on both sides - for easier movement. This design is convenient for patients with weak arms and after short workouts makes it possible to move pretty quickly.
Walkers on wheels for elderly patients are recommended for walking and for additional leg training. Such designs (scooters, rollators) are equipped with four larger diameter wheels, which allows you to move as quickly as possible, while maintaining stability. Usually equipped with a brake according to the principle of a manual bicycle mechanism.
Models with additional support
It also happens that a person has a desire to get up and move, but conventional constructions with an emphasis on the level of the pelvis do not give such an opportunity, since they cannot create sufficient support. In such cases, additional elements of supporting body weight at a higher level should be added.
Support walkers for elderly patients with an emphasis on the elbow make it possible to carry body weight when walking on the forearm. Higher emphasis provides good stability even to very weak people.
The emphasis in the axillary region makes it possible to completely unload the spine and maximize the safety of the movement process. Such models are recommended for people with impaired coordination.
Universal walkers and their modifications
Currently, the market offers both stationary and folding compact models, convenient for storage and transportation. The mechanism for folding the frame can be present in simple stationary structures, in walking versions of walkers, and in more "advanced" rollators. All of them are easily transformed into a working position and can be quickly prepared for use.
Often, for patients with a large weight, a conventional aluminum construction is not enough. In such cases, you should choose the option of a more durable frame with improved technical characteristics. There are models designed for loads up to 225 kg.
There are currently comfortable walkers for the elderly on sale. A photo of such a model is presented above. There are designs with a folding or stationary seat, the front jumper in this case serves as a backrest. Additionally, there may be a table, compartments for luggage storage and transportation of canes.
How to choose a walker for the elderly?
In order for the patient to feel the benefits of the walkers, they must be selected specifically for him. The right choice will be made by the attending physician who is familiar with the physiological state and physical health of the patient. Also, assistance can be provided by a qualified specialist of the trading network, where it is planned to purchase walkers.
General recommendations come down to the fact that in the first stages simple standard models with four legs are better suited. It will not be superfluous to have walkers able to install an additional block of removable supports.
For weak patients, it is better to choose designs with wheels on the front legs. If they are removable, it will be even better.
For walks, you should choose rollators with large wheels and a seating for relaxation. The variant with three wheels is less bulky and more mobile; it is well suited for both home and street use.
For people with impaired coordination, it is better to choose a walker-support under the elbow or axilla.
The design should be as light as possible, precisely fit the patient's height or have the possibility of such adjustment. Any walker for the elderly (the photo makes it possible to understand the principle of determining the height) should be conveniently fixed in freely dropped hands.
The arms should be comfortable. Most often they are plastic or rubberized, but for people with increased sweating of their hands, you need to take care of models with handrails made of porous materials in advance. For patients with arthritis, there are options with thickened handles.
Big wheels of skaters better cope with rough road. The presence of cushioning in road models will soften the effect on the hands. Small wheels will be enough for movement indoors. Their blocking should have a simple mechanism and ensure reliable fixation.
The technological load on the frame can correspond to the weight of the patient with a small margin of safety.
It is nice to read thank-you feedback from older people who really benefit from the walker. The convenience, ease and practicality of aluminum structures when moving is mainly noted. Adjustable walkers for the elderly are in demand. Reviews show that such models are finally tailored to the patient’s growth after the start of use.
There are grateful reviews for two-level walkers that help many to get up on their own. It is nice to know that thanks to the supporting folding design, an elderly person was able to go on vacation with the children to the sea.
Special thanks from the elderly housewives for comfortable seats, compartments for grocery bags and for rubber lining on the racks that protect the floor.
There are warnings regarding the use of wheeled models for people after a stroke with a partial loss of motor functions.
The complaint about "biting" prices for comfortable designs is justified, but with the proviso that money is not a pity for such a thing.
Walkers for the elderly have an undeniable advantage over other support systems. These designs allow you to quickly restore the motor function of a weakened person, help to overcome the fear of walking.
Due to the wide support base, walkers are considered the safest device for helping older people, they give a real sense of self-confidence. Such a means of rehabilitation is definitely more practical than crutches or canes, and for some patients it allows you to replace a wheelchair.
Using walkers, elderly people can return to an active life, taking walks, doing simple housework, serving themselves.
The task of family members taking care of elderly relatives is to choose the right model, take care of its reliability and safety, help take the first steps with it, and support the patient morally and psychologically.