Need advice on which walker to buy

gayleSeptember 25, 2006

My dad has dreadful osteoporosis and bad circulation in his legs. He has stubbornly refused to use a walker every time I have suggested it. But he is really battling to move around and suffers from the fact that he has to sit down helplessly all the time. He lives in South Africa and I am going to visit him in 2 weeks, and I thought I would just take him a walker. However, there are so many different ones that I don't know what to buy. He is very thin (about 135 lbs) and very bent over with no strength. So, even though I would like to buy one with a seat, I don't know if he could cope with the weight of it and actually pick it up and put it in his car.

I would so appreciate advice on what to buy for him.

Thank you.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The smallest, lightest ones are the type with just two small plastic wheels on the front, and some people put tennis balls over the rubber tips on the back legs. These fold up very small. BUT, the small wheels make it very unsafe for anything but very even pavement outside. Mother refused to get a bigger walker until she found that she was getting caught on every little blip on the sidewalk. Those are really best for indoors, but they do fold up nicely for the car.

The larger ones have larger wheels, and as you note, some come with seats, and there are also baskets available. Since Mother was only 4'9", we found that there was a shorter size to accomodate her. There are brakes on these, so be sure that your Dad or any user understands how to use the brakes so they are safe if they want to sit down. These aren't too heavy, but are a lot bulkier when foded in the car.

Some brands (I'll find a link to the store that I used) have a smaller, more compact folding model good for travel.

There's a lot of variety out there, so you should find a model that will match your needs. I got the Nova, which makes a good product. And I found that this website was about 1/2 the price of the local "discount" medical supply store in our small town, so beware on prices. Shopping online might save you quite a bit unless you are in a large metro area.

Here is a link that might be useful: assorted walkers

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 7:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have used the Invacare brand walker for the past 17 years. The weight of a walker is very important to me because I also have an arm attachment on it and this brand fits my needs. You will have to decide if you want wheels on it or not. I do not use them because I don't feel as stable walking using wheels, but that is just my personal preference. I have never tried one with a seat, so I can't help you with that aspect. Hope you enjoy your visit with your dad.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 7:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This may not apply to Gayle, but Medicare will only cover the cost of the lightest weight walker, but they will pay for that.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 7:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My MIL had someone give her a walker and she used it. Later when she did start seeing a doctor, they told her she was using it wrong. She lifted it every time she took a step-She was told she needed to set it in front and then walk into the walker-she could never learn to do this, becasue she had done it wrong for such a long time--So if you can learn a little about using them (hopefully from someone who uses one and uses it the correct way)--Good luck getting your Dad to use one.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 7:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Be very sure that you get one that allows for height adjustment.

I had to use one for a couple of months. It was an inexpensive, no wheels type. I used it primarily for helping me get out of bed, out of chairs and off the toilet. I would just drag it around from one place to the next. Perhaps you could talk him into using it for that sort of thing until he got used to it, then get a better one with a seat later.

Personally, I think that the ones with wheels might be a little scary for the first time user. I would be afraid that I wouldn't use it correctly and it would scoot away from me.

Your father needs one that he can lean over and then use to pull himself up from a seated position. It takes a lot of leg power to hoist someone up. With a walker, he has better help with his arms.

Take him one, or wait until you get there to buy one. Even if he refuses to use it now, it will be there when he does need it.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 8:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all so much for your wonderful advice. I am working on it and appreciate the encouragement. I know he really needs a walker. Maybe I should buy 2, one with wheels for when he goes out and one without for the house. However perhaps this will mix him up. Does anyone know if those wheeled walkers with brakes are easy to use. If the brakes are reliable and easy to put on and release, that might be the solution.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 9:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You might get some ideas from this. It has some helpful information regarding walkers in general.

I hadn't thought about it, but it doesn't recommend wheels for use over carpets. I wonder if they work on grass. If you have to have a good firm base for the wheels, I think one without the wheels would be best for everything. They are really supprisingly light weight.

Here is a link that might be useful: walkers

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 10:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The brakes do work well, and if you need an all-purpose walker, that style will work well.

As to adjustments, that's why I had to get Mother the "jr" size, so it would adjust downward to accomodate her height, or lack of. And proper use is very important, as has been mentioned. One of mother's friends hunched over and pushed inot her walker. Proper use would have her stand as straight as possible, handles adjusted to about wrist-level, and the user walks into the walker. It should not be pushed out ahead of the user.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 11:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nexus by Dana Douglas. They come in different sizes and are adjustable within a range. Get the one without exposed cables. Got one for 94-year-young mom about four months ago. Vastly superior to others examined. Also has a seat and folds flat in seconds for transport. Four larger-diameter wheels. About $300.00.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 2:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just a thought. When my mom's resisted a suggestion from me, I find she is much more receptive if the same suggestion comes from a healthcare professional.

On top of that, there is a wide range of walker styles, and they should be adjusted for the individual's height and needs.

I would really hesitate to just pick one up for him, without getting the right advice from someone who knows how to fit them.

In your shoes, I'd try to have him schedule a dr's appt. while I was visiting, and I'd accompany him (giving the dr. a call ahead of time to voice my concerns). That way, if the dr. prescribes a walker, your father may be more inclined to use it. You can talk to the dr. about what's right for your dad's specific needs. Then, you really should take your father to a good medical supply store, so he can try different styles, and so they can properly fit the one he buys to his height. And they should instruct him on using it properly. Truly, the medical supply store staff is one of the best sources of info, I find. I go to a really good one in my area where they're always willing to answer all your questions.

Don't know about the insurance situation for your father--but for my mom, having the dr's prescription meant that her insurance picked up the cost of her walker. So that's another thing you might want to look into.

Know what you're going through. My mom never wants to accept any changes at all--but once we finally cajole (or insist, as the case may be--LOL) her into them, she usually is happy with things that make her life easier. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 8:32PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Practical Christmas gifts
the elderly in our family have all the tee shirts,...
Caretaker of a different sort...
Hi all, new to this forum, but not garden web. Reading...
Medicare and Fully Electric Hospital Beds
I have a prescription from my mom's doctor for a fully...
how do i tell sil i am not taking her dm
MIL lived near us for years and years. She about drove...
New to caregivers forum...
Hi, folks... I have been a Gardenweb member for eons,...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™