Having used many brands and types of walkers to assist with mobility I have been asked to describe the walkers available to aid others in gaining the freedom that these devices can provide for those who need them. Mobility is an important issue for seniors and those with temporary and permanent disabilities. Modern medicine has allowed the development of many wonderful devices. Listed below are the best walkers for seniors and the disabled and the different types of walkers available.
Best Overall Walkers
Two of the best walkers stand out as excellent mobility devices and are among the best walkers for adults. These walkers are foldable for portability, are made with sturdy construction, have 4 wheels, brakes and storage. They are intended to provide years of reliable service and will help increase your mobility for for the long term.
The first is the Drive Medical Steerable Knee Walker / Knee Scooter Model 790. Knee walker can be steered for increased maneuverability and is ideal for individuals recovering from foot surgery, breaks, sprains, amputation and ulcers of the foot. The dual brakes are safe and use tool free adjustments. This device is perfect for almost all areas and can be used to traverse through tight spaces and on most terrains. It is best used indoors but may be used at parks and for walks around the block also. With a weight capacity up to 300 lbs the walker is safe and supportive yet lightweight with an aluminum frame that can be folded for transport and easily fits in most car trunks.
The Drive Medical Nitro Euro Style Rollator Walker is an excellent walker for older people. It provides 4 wheel support, increased mobility, comes with dual brakes, has a seat for when you need to rest and provides extra storage. It is an easily collapsible rollator reducing to an ultra-compact size with one hand by pulling the seat grip upward and bringing the sides together so handles almost touch. The handles are adjustable between 33.5” and 38.25” and the unit has a 300 lb weight capacity. The brake cables are built in for convenience with larger front wheels added for support and ease of movement.
Best Value For Walkers
Three walkers stand out for value. These walkers will provide safe convenient service to assist your mobility needs for years. The first item should be the back-up for anyone needing assistance with walking. Remember that the more you use your devices the greater the benefit to your health as you enjoy life. So use your walker often for health as well as mobility.
The standard walker by Mefeir or a similar unit is highly recommended. It has an adjustable height that can be modified from 8 different heights from 30 to 37 inches in 1-inch increments. It is perfect for seniors on the go with its friendly, convenient features. The unit is lightweight with a very strong aluminum frame that allows you to to easily fold up the walker for storage or transport. It has triangular shaped front and side frames and offers greater stability that holds up to 350 lbs. It is certified by FDA as safe and reliable and is an excellent rehabilitation training tool for paralysis of lower extremity for home use. It helps patients to keep balance, support weight and assist walking. It comes complete and assembled ready to be adjusted for user size so they may begin use with no tools needed. The unit folds compact to 31.5” x 20.47” x 4.7” for storage or transport.
Carex Economy Knee Scooter is a great value for a knee walker. It offers assistance and mobility to those suffering from lower leg injuries and ailments and serves as an excellent crutch alternative for those recovering from foot and ankle injuries. The handle bars and leg support area are fully height-adjustable for maximum comfort and convenience. This knee scooter/walker also utilizes quick-release attachments for easy transportation and storage. It has a capacity of 250 lbs, is durable, relatively inexpensive and very maneuverable.
The Drive Medical four wheel rollator with fold up removable back support provides reliable support with maximum comfort and is ideal for uneven/outdoor terrain. It features dual brakes with brake locks and the unit is foldable for compact storage or transport. The walker offers height adjustment from 31” to 37” and a seat that is 21 inches from the floor. When first beginning with a rollator this is an excellent value for a reliable product.
Standard walkers are constructed from aluminum/steel alloy tubing formed in three parts bent into u-shapes. Turned so the curved portion is on top, the three pieces are attached together creating a middle section with the 2 side pieces that create the handles and legs on either side. The curved portion becomes the handles with either hard plastic, rubber or a softer foam attached on each curve for handles for easier hold and comfort. These can be changed as needed at a low cost for the convenience of use of the equipment. Inner-tubing is added inside the feet to enable the height of the walker to be adjusted for individual needs. Height adjustment is created by adjusting the inner bars that create the feet up or down using a simple push and hold of buttons while adjusting the length. The design is such that the two end pieces with the legs and handles can be folded-in to compact the unit for transport and storage.
The Optimum height setting should have the top of the u-portion of the bars, or handles, at wrist height with the user standing tall next to the unit. When the hands are placed on the handles the user’s elbows should be slightly bent. Always be sure to properly set adjustments of a walker to the user for best performance as setting the proper height for a walker is important for the safety, comfort, and correct postures of the user. Proper settings increase strength and performance of the user and insure long term success.
Using the standard mobility walker is very easy with a little practice. In hospitals care workers often introduce patients to these walkers. The user, standing with the walker in front of them places hands on the walker, lifts and moves the walker forwards 8′ to 12” (depending on reach and stability of the user) and then steps into it with one foot. Using the other foot the user completes the step completing the step in front of the first. The process is repeated to continue walking and it is quite simple because the user simply uses slight weight on the walker to enable the patient to walk similar to a normal walk. To turn a corner or change directions the user lifts the walker and places it in the direction they want go and steps into the walker again. Small steps and functionality are very important to reduce over-stressing the individual as larger steps and faster speed are a result of practice.
The standard mobility walker allows the user to replace some of their weight bearing with the walker, reducing energy and strength requirements. The user does not put their full weight on the walker as it was not intended for this purpose, but rather as an assistive device to help support weight. Continued use of the walker will build strength and endurance as success is achieved. Using a standard mobility walker is not a fast process, nor is it supposed to be as the user should be concentrating more about balance and stability while walking rather than being about speed. In order to use this type of walker, or any walker for that matter, the user must have some control of their balance, enough strength in their legs to support their some of their own weight bearing and some strength in their arms and hands to hold themselves. When concentration is focused on safety and correct movement the fundamentals are developed and the speed will come naturally.
Almost all standard walkers fold by simply pushing a small button to collapse the walker. For storage or transport most newer units require folding each side in flat to fold the unit making these walkers extremely portable. Some walkers even fold and collapse for transport in a large suitcase or travel bag. For the value received these walkers are not very expensive and are readily available even at local drug stores.
The standard walker by Mefeir is recommended. It has an adjustable height that can be modified from 8 different heights from 30 to 37 inches in 1-inch increments. The unit is lightweight with a very strong aluminum frame that allows you to easily fold up the walker for storage or transport. It has triangular shaped front and sides frames and offers greater stability that holds up to 350 lbs. It is certified by FDA as safe and reliable and can be used as a rehabilitation training tool for paralysis of lower extremity for home use. It helps patients to keep balance, support weight and assist walking. The unit comes complete and assembled ready to be adjusted for user size so they may begin use with no tools needed. The walker will fold into a compact 31.5” x 20.47” x 4.7” unit for storage or transport.
Wheeled walkers are very similar to standard walkers except they have one pair of wheels attached in front. The wheels require a little more balance and stability than the standard walkers but are a natural progression upward as users gain strength. The wheels allow the user to glide along the floor surface with more ease, avoiding bumps and cracks. You may have noticed some people using wheel walkers who have added tennis balls to the back legs to allow the back of the walker to more easily glide over carpets or cracks or gaps such as in tile, concrete blocks, changes in flooring types and door jams as well as the front wheels. Ask someone to assist you if you do add balls to the walkers as attaching the balls takes some effort – or you opt for a walker with rear glide clips.
This being said, wheels and other assistive devices are not intended for the assistive device to be abused. Users must remain aware of flooring types, obstructions such as extension cords, trash or fallen objects and cracks or small holes in the flooring as one small change can cause a fall when unaware. Wheels will increase your mobility and speed and should be treated with respect as they do also increase the effort your body will utilize to use them effectively and safely.
The wheeled walker by Healthline is a recommended walker for this category. It has a short height of 25.5” and a maximum height of 38.5” providing the ability for a range of adjustments. Made of aluminum the walker will support up to 300 lbs weight capacity, has a 2-click fold capability and includes back glider clips to help the back legs glide over surfaces.
Bariatric walkers are a heavier version of the standard and wheeled walkers. These walkers are heavier, reinforced, are capable of supporting more weight and are generally wider that their lighter counterparts. These walkers are designed to provide for those who need sturdier designs in their mobility devices.
Healthline has a bariatric walker that comes highly recommended. The mobility device is reinforced aluminum capable of supporting up to 450 lbs and as most other aluminum walkers, it folds easily with a click of two buttons. The device has a wider width between the handles for wider individuals and has double wheels in the front for increased stability and weight capacity.
One Handed Walkers
One-handed walkers are intended for individuals with little or no use of one arm and provides support lighter than a walker and much more supportive than a cane. It is also ideal for those who do necessarily require a walker but need a wider base for support.
The Drive Medical side style hemi one-arm walker is an ideal one handed walker. It can support up to 300 lbs, is made of aluminum, is lightweight and is adjustable from 28.5″-35.5″ in height. The unit measures 16″(L) x 18.5″(W) x 28.5″(H) and is compactable.
Walkers With Trays
Many additions such as bags and baskets are added to walkers to allow users to carry items. For those confined indoors they have developed food trays that can fit over the handles of the walkers to turn walkers into eating trays. The food is brought to the mobility device user and fits securely right on the walker saving time, clean-up and space. The walker user may actually move the walker with the tray attached if desired provided drinks are covered and there is reduced risk of spillage.
The North American walker tray with non-slip grip mat are an easy to use tray that slides over the handles of your walker, creating a stable and convenient tray that’s perfect for mealtime. It has a hard plastic base and custom non-slip removable pad with two cup holders and precision cut slots for walker handles. It fits most walkers and makes a great work surface for everyday tasks like crafting, writing and reading. It is easy to clean and the removable non-slip pad lifts off, so you can quickly rinse off or wash both the pad and the tray.
Mobility Stand Up Walker Aid
The stand up walker aid enables users to stand upright and look ahead with better support and greater confidence to walk farther and remain active. Stand up walkers for seniors were created to help individuals move with greater ease with less pressure on joints caused by some walkers. The walker is more comfortable compared to other walkers because it reduces stress and pain on joints in the wrists, back and legs. Use of this device requires that the user have reasonable health and strength to control the unit and that the user does not require the unit for support to stand.
Ideally the user will be between 4’7” and 5’10” and weigh less than 300 lbs. Note that It does not work well for individuals who are in small tight living spaces like apartments or homes with tight corners and spaces. Large homes and open spaces are more conducive to this mobility unit.
The UpWalker Mobility Stand Up Walker Aid is an example of this device. UpWalker can give you a greater sense of security and stability by allowing you to walk more upright, giving you the confidence to walk further and remain more active when compared to the use of traditional walkers, rollators, canes, or other mobility aids. It is designed for everyday use outdoors, in a spacious home, or in a living facility. Preliminary clinical studies revealed improvement in walking, posture & stability, as well as reduced pain in legs, back, hands, wrists, and joints. This device may be helpful in treatment and mobility for patients with cardiovascular, neurological, pulmonary, and other health disorders.
Most of the standard and wheeled versions of walkers are made of aluminum alloy and are very light and easy to carry and transport. The fact that they now fold so easily with a touch of a couple buttons make these units very transportable. They fit very easily in trunks, backseats and adjacent seats and the sturdy design makes them a must have if you even occasionally require mobility assistance.
The Duro-Med Industries lightweight aluminum folding wheeled walker with easy two button release is a prime example of these lightweight walkers. Weighing in at 5.5 lbs and supporting up to 250 lbs this walker is a dynamo. It only measures 4” in width when folded. It is adjustable height from 32” to 38” and has glide clips on the back legs.
A rollator is a walker with four wheels instead of two. Varieties vary, but the best rollator will have stationery rear wheels with rotating front wheels for ease of steering and changing direction. These units more often than not come with a seat, a storage bag or basket beneath the seat and brakes. Many people like the feel of the extra mobility introduced by the wheels, which make the brakes a necessity for controlling movement. When tired from walking or waiting in line the seats are a wonderfully useful part of the device.
When purchasing a unit for your personal use be sure to pay attention to weight capacity, consumer ratings and adjustability. The biggest problem with rollators is the constant leaning forward when using the unit so it is important to adjust the handle and brake height to best suit you as overuse or improper alignment may lead to sore backs and joints from use. It is important to adjust the unit for your health and safety because when used properly these mobility devices can indeed make you more mobile.
The Folding Rollator Walker by Vive comes with a dual braking system, storage, a comfortable seat and an unconditional lifetime guarantee. This rollator, as most, is easy to fit in most car trunks for transport and it is even designed with removable front wheels and folding rear wheels that allows fitting the unit into tight spaces, which can come in handy. The provided storage bag is large enough for storing your laptop, bringing along drinks and a snack and to keep your wallet conveniently stored while you go on your trek. The braking system has a locking unit to prevent the rollator from rolling away if you step aside for a moment.
3-Wheel Triangle Rollators/Walkers
3-Wheel Triangle Rollators/Walkers are similar to 4 wheel rollators but give up some stability provided by 4 wheels and are not available with a seat. They do provide storage space, have a brake system and are great for taking walks and shopping treks. An advantage of the triangle 3-wheeled walker is that it is lighter than and folds up smaller than the 4 wheel rollator. It is good for maneuvering in tight spaces and a good walking aid.
The Nova Traveler is an example of the triangle 3 wheeled walker. It comes with all the bells and whistles, sporting extra storage space plus state of the line brakes and the NOVA Traveler has a Lifetime Limited Warranty on the frame and 5 warranty on the brakes
Knee Walkers were developed for individuals suffering from foot or leg injuries including broken or sprained ankles, diabetic foot ulcers, foot operations, below the knee amputations and other foot injuries. They are very effective at allowing users mobility while eliminating and pressure on the effected body part.
The user places the ‘bad’ or injured limb on the bench of the knee walker and uses the good leg to propel the knee walker forward. The units are very easy to maneuver, may be used on carpet, tiles, sidewalks and other surfaces. The heavy duty all-terrain units with larger tires may even traverse rocks, sand at the beach or muddy, dirty pathways.
When searching for a unit consider where you will use it, for how long you need it and your actual specific needs. The all-terrain version is awesome if you have need for traversing all terrain but they are much more limited than regular units for maneuverability in tight places. For example, they do not fit well in a home bathroom. 3 wheeled versions do not provide the same support and ease of use as 4 wheel units and may give up some stability.
These mobility devices almost definitely need a basket or storage carrying bag and you should opt for a double brake system. Most units are adjustable for height to ensure you are safe, comfortable and the walker fits to you.
A good knee walker is the BOCCA knee scooter with shock absorber. It has a great design, is very maneuverable, has dual brakes and is adjustable for your height. It was designed specifically for foot injuries and folds well for transport.
Summary And Tips For Choosing Your Mobility Device
As you can see there are many choices available to choose from to find a mobility device to assist you. I have spent months in beds unable to get up and more around on my own. It is debilitating to always have to rely on others for things once considered simple tasks. I have tried every device listed in this article and many others and I have learned by experience that there are a number of things to look for when seeking a device that best works for you.
First and foremost work with healthcare professionals. They have helped many people gain freedom and are a valuable resource for you. Ask questions and describe your goals so they know best how to help you. These people know the devices and can help find walkers for elderly or disabled individuals. They realize seniors walkers can include various special needs and each individual is unique and utilizing all the resources at your disposal is important. Healthcare professionals are an awesome resource to utilize.
Decide on the type walker you need. The tendency for many is to say I need an old persons walker or a senior citizen walker or a walker for old age. What exactly is that? For some with limited strength that may be a standard aluminum walker to begin the process which may change as you move more and build strength progressing to a wheeled walker. As you continue to strengthen and progress you may move up to a rollator or stand-up walker/rollator. The key here is you – ask yourself what are your current needs and what are your goals and write them down. These devices are abundant and it is your responsibility to take advantage of them. Again, don’t be timid to ask for assistance from those who know.
Here is a short list to consider:
1. Your device should be durable. You want it to be of sturdy construction and to last for years as this is an investment in your lifestyle.
2. Determine your strength levels, your ability to balance and stabilize and your endurance. The answer to these will help direct you to the type of walker you will use right now as all walkers require a certain amount of strength and balance. I began with a standard walker and progressed to a knee walker, a rollator and eventually to no need for an assistive device. It takes work and effort but your goal is achievable.
3. If you use a rollator or knee walker scooter it is suggested that you opt for a dual brake system for safety. Many units only have single brakes, which is OK for some. The dual brake systems are much safer and more convenient.
4. You will find that maneuverability is very important. Consider the terrain you will be traveling and the area you have to move around. Big bulky walkers limit your movement in crowded, narrow, tight or cramped rooms. Taking rollators and especially knee walkers on sidewalks or over tiled floor with lots of grouting you will probably feel every bump or crack so you need to find a unit that meets your needs.
5. Transportability is often an issue so you need to know if the device folds and if it is a weight you and others can easily lift. There are many times you may encounter this issue; a visit to the doctor, going out to eat or shop, when visiting family or friends or other errands and trips. Determine whether the unit can easily be collapsed and whether it will fit in a car trunk. I’ve seen many mobility walkers on buses, in stores, on the street, in parks, at medical buildings and other places. Will your walker provide you complete accessibility? Take time to do an evaluation of your needs before purchasing a device.
6. Size and fit are important to your safety and health so the unit must be adjustable to you and be simple to adjust to your needs.
When using a walker safety is a primary concern so don’t rush or take large steps, concentrating your efforts on maintaining stability. Be aware of the surface you are traveling and know how to adjust for that surface. Tile is different than carpet, wood floors or concrete and how you move on that surface can affect your safety. Countless people have fallen in the tile lobbies of doctors in high rise buildings because they rushed over slippery tiles. When using a walker you need to be aware of bumps and cracks and other obstacles and be sure to be cognizant of your surroundings when using any walker.
There are many articles and sales pages available about mobility devices. You are encouraged to learn all you can to make the best decisions for you. To answer your question about where to buy a walker for elderly individuals your choices are many. Links to Amazon sites are included showing pictures and complete descriptions or you may visit a health care store device provider or search for direct links for senior citizen walkers for devices locally. Happy walking.