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With falls being the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults aged 65 and older, fall prevention is a concern for all seniors as well as for the people who care for them. A walker can help you or someone for whom you care walk independently with less risk of falling. However, selecting the right walker is important to ensure safety. Walgreens has a large selection of walkers to help you find the perfect mobility aid.
A walker is a mobility device that consists of a metal frame with a front and sides. The person who is using the walker stands inside of this three-sided frame and uses the walker to help support his or her weight while walking. A walker supports roughly 50 percent of a person's body weight, so it is useful for people with limited strength and for those who are unsteady on their feet. However, a person must be strong enough to be able to support the other half of their bodyweight on their own to use a walker safely. Most often, walkers are recommended for people with arthritis, weakness of the legs or hips, balance problems and various types of gait or stepping problems. You or your loved one should only use a walker if a physician has recommended one over other types of mobility aids.
Walkers come in three basic types: wheel-less, two-wheeled and four-wheeled. With a wheel-less walker, the user must have enough arm strength to lift the walker off of the ground and put it further ahead of him or herself when it comes time to take a step. This process also makes wheel-less walkers more time-consuming to use; however, wheel-less walkers are very stable, safe options for those who are able to use them. Two-wheeled walkers eliminate the need to pick up the walker and instead are tilted and then pushed forward to move. The addition of the two front wheels speeds up the process of walking. However, the wheels could slip or slide on icy or slick surfaces. Four-wheel walkers are the fastest and simplest types to use, and they are best for individuals who can walk at a moderate speed and easily change their pace to keep up with the rolling walker. Sometimes called rollators, four-wheel walkers have integrated brake systems, and most also have fold-down seats for taking a break when the person using the walker needs to rest. The brakes on a four-wheel walker should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are in proper working order.
The first step toward selecting the right walker for your needs or for the needs of the person for whom you are caring is to talk to a physician for advice. He or she will likely recommend one of the three types of walkers and may provide other advice regarding walker selection based on the medical condition of the user. Then, you'll need to compare the height and weight limits of the models available to find the perfect one. You may also want to consider things like built-in storage and whether or not the walker folds if it will be frequently used away from home or during travel.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.