Our Take: The Proper Use of Walking Aids

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Mobility is one of the biggest hardships people face as they get older. It just isn’t as easy to get from point A to point B anymore. One of our biggest passions is to make the lives of those we care for as easy and “normal” as possible. We also want to make sure our clients stay mobile and active in their everyday lives.
Choosing the proper and most functional walking aids will ensure that those we care for the most get around safely. There are many aids that allow support to those who have lost independent mobility. The challenge is, knowing WHEN to use WHAT.

Let’s first start with introducing a few different types of equipment:

  • Cane
  • Walker
  • Rolling Walker
  • Wheelchair

Cane – A cane is the most popular walking aid and typically is used as the introductory device when you first see signs of declining mobility.

  • Canes should NOT be used when it is raining. Wet ground increases the risk of falling tremendously. Only use a cane when clients can be free-standing and can balance completely on their own and the weather is favorable.

Rolling Walkers – Rolling Walkers are very easy to use. They allow clients to move faster and easier than regular walkers.

  •  Rolling walkers are one of the more free-moving walking aids. They allow people to use a walking aid without having to pick up the device to move. Do not allow rolling walkers to be used when there is a risk of falling or when there is lacking upper body strength.

Regular Walker –Regular Walkers are a lot more stable than canes and Rolling Walkers. They add so much stability and even add as something to hang accessories like purses,            water bottles, and jackets. Be sure to add proper grips and adjust the walker to the proper fit to ensure comfort ability.

  • Regular walkers are great when leg strength is present and balance is not. The stable feet of a regular walker allows clients to stand strong and have firm footing. They also require use of upper body strength, so be sure to judge whether or not this can be done.

Wheelchair – Wheelchairs are to be used when someone has lost most of their independent mobility. This is the biggest transition of all of the mobility aids, even when previously using a walking aid.

  • Remember there are many different types of wheelchairs, so be sure to properly assess the needs of the client. It is a MUST to consider comfortably when choosing a wheelchair and be sensitive to their requests and needs.

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