Staying mobile is the key to maintaining much of your independence. Whether you need a little bit of help keeping your balance or if aging joints require additional support, a walker can be the key to getting around comfortable and safely. There are several different walker styles to choose from but there is no "best" style for all purposes. You may even find that the best walker for getting around your home and the best walker for running errands are different. This guide can help you decide which types will fit your lifestyle better.
Option #1: The Standard Walker
This walker is typically only for short-term use or for highly specific purposes, since it is larger and more difficult to manage outside of its intended purpose. A standard walker consists of a metal box-like frame with four legs. It provides a very stable base, so it is sometimes used as a permanent fixture next to a bed or toilet for those that mainly need the extra support to stand up from a sitting position. It is also commonly used as a temporary walker for those that are recovering from an injury or surgery that has affected their balance or strength.
Option #2: Folding Walkers
These walkers are very similar to standard models, except that they fold up for easier storage. They are also generally lightweight. These two features combined make them a better option if you want a walker you can use at home and take with you in the car. Many are even simple enough to operate one-handed.
Option #3: Wheeled Walkers
There are two main options with wheeled walkers – standard or folding walkers with wheels on the front two legs, or "rollators." A rollator is a walker with four wheels and handbrakes on the handle. Generally, wheeled walkers are for those who cannot lift a walker – instead you glide it forward on the front wheels. There are also glides available for indoor use on the rear legs of the walker, which can make it easier to roll the standard walker. Rollators serve the same purpose but the four-wheel design makes them even easier to use – especially on rougher outdoor terrain. A rollator can also allow for quicker movement, since it takes little effort to move the walker.
There are also several add-on options available for walkers. A variety of bag and carrier styles are available for every type of walker, which makes it easier for you to move things and keep your balance. There are even snap-on trays for transporting food. Rollator-style walkers may also have built-in seats that fold down, which ensures you always have a chair available when you need to rest.
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