A folding walker can be very useful for some elderly and inappropriate/frustrating for others. It all depends on their needs.
They have four legs and no wheels so the senior has to pick up the walker every two steps.
Of all the different walker designs, it provides the most support and is the most stable (due to no wheels).
The basic rule is if the senior needs to keep weight off their leg/foot (due to surgery or a fracture), than a folding standard walker is the easiest way to do this.
Crutches are also useful but many elderly have difficulty using crutches.
If they do not need to keep weight off a leg/foot, then there are other types of walkersthat may be easier to use.
A folding walker is a basic standard walker with no wheels, folds in half for easy storage and transportation, is lightweight and sturdy.
It is most commonly used when a senior needs to keep weight off of their foot or leg (ie. after surgery or fracture).
Some elderly prefer to use these types of walkers in their home if they live in a very small apartment as a rollator can be too large. In theses cases, I recommend converting the walker into a front wheel walker as they do not have to pick it up every two steps. They can replace the front legs with wheels.
Some elderly use this type of walker for locations in the house where their regular walker (usually a rollator walker) cannot go. For example, elderly with small bathrooms may use a folding walker in the bathroom and a rollator walker in the rest of the house.
Elderly who live in multi-level homes may also have a folding walker on a floor of their home that they do not use very often and their other walker on the main floor.
Seniors should not be carrying their walker up/down stairs or risk not having a walker available on other levels of the home.
A folding walker with no wheels is usually only used for certain situations such as post surgery or fracture.
They are commonly used by seniors in the initial stages after a leg, hip or foot surgery or fracture as they can use it to keep weight off the area.
Some doctors may want their patients to put no weight, minimal weight (feather weight bearing), partial weight (slightly more weight), weight bearing as tolerated (as much as pain allows) and full weight bearing. They often want the senior to progress from less to more weight.
I have also recommended seniors use folding walkers when transferring from wheelchair to chair/bed/couch/car as they are sturdy and they only need something to hold onto for a few steps.
All other times, elderly would likely benefit from a different style of walker (such as a rollator walker).
Seniors who do not need to keep weight off their foot/leg will be better off trying a different type of walkers for elderly.
Rollator walkers are much more enjoyable to use as they roll along (do not have to pick up) and have a seat and basket.
Folding walkers can be frustrating and slow to use as the senior has to pick it up every two steps.
A well designed, high quality folding walker should have the following features:
There are many different walker accessories for folding walkers, including:
As with other mobility products for the elderly, you want the height of the handle to be at the wrist of the senior.
How to measure for proper handle height:
Basic technique for using a folding walker (once it's been properly fitted):
A folding walker costs $50-100.
There are a variety of other walkers, including:
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