Health and Wellbeing
How to Choose the Right Walking Aid?
If you or a loved one are struggling with mobility at home or outside, then you may find that a walking aid could be helpful. Walking aids are a great solution for people who may have an injury, illness, disability or ongoing limited mobility as they provide balance, support and safety while walking short distances.
With so many different options available to you, you may be wondering, ‘how do I choose a walking aid that’s right for me?’. Before making your selection, you should consider the following:
- Your mobility range
- Where and how you require the most support. For example, sitting and standing or walking short distances
- Your height and build. This will help you to find the correct fitting solution for your body type
- Where you will be using the walking aid. For example, at home or outside - or both
- To what extent your upper body can bear weight
- If you are eligible to receive any free walking aids
Choosing the right mobility aid can be a complicated and daunting process. To help you on your journey, Oak Tree has shared the most popular mobility aids and their key features. By the end of this blog post, you should feel more confident in choosing the right walking aid for you.
Benefits of walking aids
There are countless benefits of walking aids for seniors including health, security and independence.
Walking aids have been shown to help to reduce pain by taking some of the strain off of the lower body when standing. Additionally, walking aids for the elderly provide stability for people who tire from exertion during standing or walking, providing extra security for tired legs.
Many older people can become isolated if they are experiencing limited mobility with ageing. Walking aids for seniors are a fantastic tool that can give you the confidence to continue to live more independently and carry on doing more of what you love. For example, a rollator could re-open your world again if you have been finding it difficult to go to the shops or meet friends, giving you the assurance to move around safely and comfortably.
Different types of walking aids
Describe the different types of walking aids and provide useful information for making a choice. When applicable, please use the keyword “Walking aid with seat”.
We understand that everyone has their own unique mobility requirements and that there is no one size fits all solution. Here are some of the most popular walking aids available.
Indoor trollies are a multifunctional and popular option for people living at home who need extra assistance with walking and need to transport a few essentials from room to room. The trolley shelves are often removable, making them easy to clean. The shelves also feature a lip around the edge to stop objects from falling during transfer.Indoor trolley walking aids have four wheels, similar to a rollator. Some models may come with brakes however not all, please check with your supplier if you feel you would benefit from the braking function.
The outdoor trolley is very similar to the indoor trolley, only more robust. Outdoor trolleys typically have three wheels and brakes for added safety and stability while on outside terrain. Additionally, rather than a set of trays, they typically have a basket on the front. These are a great choice for gardening enthusiasts as you have somewhere to keep your tools and you will have that extra support getting around the garden.
Walking frames without wheels
You may know the standard walking frame without wheels as a zimmer frame.
These are very popular walking aids and are what you may imagine when you think of a walking aid. Walking frames without wheels are often used for those recovering from an injury, or for people who struggle with balance when walking. When using a walking frame, you will need to lift the frame forward, place it down in front of you and then step into the frame. With this mobility aid, sixty-four per cent of the user’s weight is transferred through the arms, so it is important to consider your upper body strength when selecting a walking frame without wheels.
Wheeled frames are very similar to the traditional zimmer frame, however, they typically have wheels on just the front two legs. A wheeled frame removes the need to lift your walking aid as you move. This makes them particularly helpful for people with arthritis or for people with less strength in the upper body. Just like the non-wheeled version, these mobility aids are height adjustable for your safety.
A folding frame is an excellent option for those who are looking for a portable walking aid that they can take with them in the car or on holiday. Folding frames are versatile and are designed for both indoor and outdoor use. These mobility aids are ideal for short distances and as a temporary solution while travelling. It is not recommended that folding frames are to be used as the primary mobility aid.
Rollators are one of the most popular walking aids available and with their sturdy four-wheel design and brake system, it’s easy to see why.
Rollators are sometimes referred to as rolling walkers and they feature a wheel at the end of each leg and a set of brakes. The four wheels allow you to move forward without having to lift the frame, this makes it a great solution for people with limited upper body strength. Rollators are also recommended by The Huntington's Outreach Project for people living with Huntington’s Disease as they have been shown to reduce stumbles and falls.
If you’re looking for a walking aid with a seat then the could be a great solution for you. A seat is particularly helpful if you have COPD and can become winded when walking. Underneath the seat, you will find a compartment for you to store your essentials. This keeps your hands free while you hold onto the rollator.
What is the right walking aid for your needs?
Deciding how to choose the right walking aid will be different for each person. You may find that you require a couple of different walking aid solutions depending on if you’re at home or outside. Additionally, you may consider a mobility scooter if you are used to travelling long distances on foot or if you no longer drive. A mobility scooter will take the strain off of your legs on trips outside of the house, allowing you to get to the shops or visit friends just as you always have.