For many seniors using a walker can be emotionally challenging because they often view the aid as a physical representation of their loss of strength, balance, and mobility. There can also be some physical challenges as well, because it can take some time for a senior to get used to walking with a walker.
But, once these hurdles are crossed, most seniors learn to appreciate their walkers for what they give back to them – an increased sense of independence. If you are going to be getting your first walker or you have a loved one who will be, then try these tips from our Wilmington NC nursing homes for using a walker.
#1: Choose the Right Type of Walking Aid
There are a number of different walking aids available to choose from, but not all are right for you. Talk to your doctor about your walking needs and your balance issues. Most importantly, find a walker that fits your body properly. For instance, if you are using a four-legged walker, then your hands should rest on the walker’s hand grips with your elbows slightly bent when standing in your normal posture.
#2: How to Walk Safely With Your Walker
When using a walker, it is important to look ahead and not at your feet. Your path should also be cleared of any area rugs, electrical cords, or anything else that could result in a tripping hazard.
If you have any pets or small children visiting you, it is important to walk with care as they can quickly get underfoot. Avoid walking when the conditions are slick outside or if you must go out, practice extreme care especially on steps and curbs.
When going up a flight of stairs, always start off with your strongest leg. When you come back down the stairs, start with your weakest leg. Keep in mind, however, that walkers should not be used on stairs. If you need any assistance navigating the stairs, ask for help.
#3: Maintaining a Walker
Over time, the rubber tips on the walker’s legs will start wearing down. This can be a dangerous slipping hazard. If you notice the rubber tips are getting worn, replace them with new ones immediately. Replacement tips can usually be found at your local drugstore or medical supply store. If you live in an area that receives a lot of snow or ice, then you can buy ice tips for improved safety through the winter.
#4: How to Walk with the Walker
Here are the steps to using a walker for the first time:
1. Set the walker directly in front of you at arm’s length. The rubber tips on the legs should be flat on the ground.
2. Holding on to the handles for support, move your weak leg forward to the middle area of the walker. Be careful you don’t step too far to the front.
3. Push straight down on the handles and carefully bring your good leg forward so it is even with the other leg.
4. Repeat the steps slowly until you feel confident you can move about
#5: How to Go Up and Down a Curb Using a Walker
Going up and down curbs tends to be one of the trickier aspects of using a walker, and one of the more dangerous because it can be easy to lose your balance. The first time you try going up or down a curb, you should have someone with you to provide assistance if necessary. Here are the steps to navigating a curb:
1. Stand as close to the edge of the curb while keeping all four legs of the walker on the surface you are standing on.
2. Once you have your balance, move the walker to the surface you want to go to (either up to the curb or down to the street)
3. Push down on the handles and take the weight off of your weak leg.
4. If you are going up the curb, place your strong leg up on the curb and bring your weak leg up to meet it. If you are going down off the curb, step down using your weak leg and then bring your strong leg down to meet it.
5. Make sure you have regained your balance before walking forward.
Visit the Davis Community’s Wilmington NC Nursing Homes
At the Davis Community, we provide plenty of resources and activities for keeping you as healthy and mobile as possible for as long as possible. From our fun community activities to our daily exercise programs, we provide you everything you need to enjoy long-lasting health and a rewarding quality of life. Contact Davis Community today at 910-686-7195 to schedule a visit or to learn more about Wilmington NC nursing homes.