How To Choose A Walker
People who need walkers any time they're on their feet bring this device with them everywhere they go, from public buses to restaurants, and to friends' homes. Having one that folds is very important for these individuals, so they can easily pack it into the trunk of a car, stow it in a crowded subway car, or simply check it with their coat at a restaurant. Since one of the most common reasons people need walkers is difficulty balancing themselves, you should look for a walker that doesn't require you to bend over to fold it up. Many can collapse into a compact shape with one push of a button.
Carrying a purse or bag in addition to handling a walker can be too strenuous for some people, which is why many models come with generous cargo areas for one's belongings. If you need to keep personal valuables on you, look for a walker with a covered cargo area so people cannot look into it. Many places where a person must wait in line, like a pharmacy or grocery store, don't have chairs for their customers. Fortunately, many walkers have built-in seats, so you can rest your legs whenever you need to. Since those needing walkers already struggle with posture issues, it's important that a walker has handles that are high enough so that the user doesn't need to bend over.
It's also crucial that the breaks are highly responsive, so the user never feels that they lose control of their walker. Some models allow for one-handed break operation, for people who have a weakness in one of their hands. If you have a caretaker, make sure they're familiar with how your device works, and are knowledgeable on helping someone with a walker. Also look for a model that is lightweight, so your caretaker can easily carry it when necessary.
A Brief History Of Mobility Aids
Walkers have been in use for as long as the wheelchair, which dates back to the 6th century; historians found a piece of stone with an image of a wheelchair carved into it from this time. The first U.S. patent for a walker, however, wasn't awarded to anyone until 1953. It was given to an English man named William Cribbes Robb. Robb's invention is allegedly the first version of a walker to offer wheels. Five years later, a man named Charles E Murcott was given a patent for his collapsible walker.
Robb's walker only had two wheels, but in 1978, a Swedish inventor named Aina Witalk who lived with polio came up with the four-wheel version, which would become known as the "Rollator." Today, the term rollator is no longer associated with a brand but just a basic name for this device. At this point, walkers still did not have cargo spaces, cup holders, or other convenient additions found in today's models.
In 1983, two inventors received a patent for a walker with a pivotal seat. This was the first walker with a seat that could be rotated to stand vertically, for when the user doesn't need it, and horizontally, for when a person wants to sit down. Since then, various intelligent additions have been made to walkers, including air-filled tires that create less vibration on the user's hands and quick-release tires that allow the user to rapidly remove their tires, and replace them with another pair better suited for the terrain.
Tips For Safely Using Your Walker
People who use walkers need to put some thought into what they wear. Sleeves that are too long or loose might get entangled in the breaks, and can be hazardous. That being said, sleeves that are too tight can restrict one's movement, and make it difficult for them to push on their breaks quickly enough. If you already need to use a walker for balance issues, you should wear shoes with soles made from a non-skid material like leather or rubber to prevent falls.
Walker users should also keep the floors of their home clutter-free. Rolling the wheels of your walker over even a small item can cause you to trip and fall. Make sure you have solid threshold ramps at all of your main entrances, too. If you are going to stay with a friend or relative, make sure that they know how to prepare their home for someone with a walker. Pay attention to the glide skis on your walker, too, since these can wear down over time and become ineffective.
If your walker has a cargo area, do not overload it because doing so can cause it to break off, which can be very dangerous when you are moving. If your walker has a seat, it's important to be careful when getting in and out of this, too. Whenever possible, push your walker against a sturdy surface like a wall. Stand in front of it, with the back of your body facing the front of the seat, and do not sit down until you feel the seat against your legs.