Mobility Aids Complete Buyer's Guide
Walking or mobility aids come in all shapes and sizes, from simple canes and walking sticks to sophisticated seat walkers and walking frames. Choosing the best option depends on your needs (do you just want to get around the house or do you want to go to the end of Busselton Jetty?) and your condition (do you need permanent or temporary support?). Our friendly teams in Busselton and Bunbury can answer all your questions about mobility aids and help you with the right choice.
Seat walkers (or rollators) are essentially frames on wheels that have a chair built in. This combination of features gives the user a comfortable means of moving about while offering stability, improving balance and reducing strain on the knees. Many people venture further with a seat walker because they know they can rest if need be; this, in turn, helps them be more sociable and independent, two key factors in mental wellness.
Consider whether your seat walker needs to fold up to fit in a car and how much it weighs. Is it a comfortable length for your height, and are the brakes sufficient (do you want a pull-down system or handle brakes?). Consider how you will be using your seat walker: do you need an ample storage basket for your shopping?
The most important thing to check is whether your feet are safely on the ground when seated without the seat being too low to make it difficult to get up again.
Once you have the correct frame size, you need to adjust the handles. To do this, relax your arms by your sides and measure the handle to the height of your wrists - this is the recommended height. Too low and you will stoop; too high may aggravate your shoulders.
Then consider what terrain you will mostly be walking on. If you will be on grass or gravel you will find larger wheels are easier to push with. The Peak-Care Ellipse Super Lite (below left) ) carbon fibre walker is the top of the range: very stylish to look at, very light for putting in the car and with large wheels for all terrains. It's worth the investment for the pleasure it can bring back to walking!
If you are on the taller side, the Redgum High Seat Walker is ideal as the seat is at 610mm, higher than usual. If you venture outdoors often, consider the Peak Care Ellipse Lite Outdoor Rollator (above right) because it offers easy manoeuvrability thanks to its larger 28cm front castors and the ultimate shock absorbing suspension. For patients who travel by car frequently, the Airgo Ultra Light Seat Walker weights under 5kg, allowing carers to move it with ease.
Walking frames (or Zimmer frames) can be used both indoors and outdoors. They comprise a sturdy frame with handles and legs that is lifted as the user walks. They help patients maintain balance and overall stability.
A walking frame is often used by someone recovering from surgery or injury as over 60% of their weight is transferred through the arms, lessening strain.
Folding walking frames without wheels are extremely lightweight at a mere 2kg and come in small, medium and large sizes that can be easily adjusted to suit the user’s height. This ensures comfort and prevents hunching or tensing.
Those with wheels also come in a variety of sizes, including heavy-duty bariatric support of up to 227kg. The EZ Fold & Go Walker (below) is lightweight and has a central fabric panel that allows it to fold away neatly. This is a good option if you travel regularly or would like your walker to be stowed out of the way when not in use.
A walking stick is designed to offer balance and stability as a short-term aid if you are experiencing pain and weakness in your legs or trunk, or are convalescing. A cane is generally an everyday, long-term mobility aid that relieves pressure. No matter which you require, allow our team to assess the length you need: a wrongly sized stick or cane that is too short or long can exacerbate rather than relieve symptoms. In addition, a patient’s weight must be considered as many can only support up to 100kg. If you need more support, opt for a Switch Stick (up to 120kg), a Redgum Folding Walking Stick (below left and centre - up to 130kg) or a bariatric-suitable option that handles up to 225kg.
Other models include tripods or quadsticks (below right), which have three or four feet attached to the stick, respectively. The feet can be on a large or small base, depending how much stability your patient needs.
If you have weak or painful hands and poor grip (due to arthritis or other conditions), the Redgum Palm Grip Walking Stick may be the answer. Its ergonomic handles have been designed to spread pressure across the palm of the hand, aiding overall grip.
In addition to a wide range of walking sticks and canes, we also supply crutches (which can be rented rather than bought if only needed for a short period) plus spare parts like wrist straps, ferrules (the rubber caps for the ends of canes and sticks), and quad or tri stick tips. Accessories or gifts include cane holders for neatly connecting your cane or stick to a table so it doesn’t slide the ground and cane or stick holders for your seat walker or rollator. We deliver throughout the South West if you want to order for yourself or send an order to someone else.
Mobility aids aren’t only for the elderly. Anyone can benefit from the temporary or lifelong support that a well measured and comfortable seat walker, walking frame or walking stick provides. Our team can work with you to make the correct selection plus you can try before you buy at our showrooms in Bunbury and Busselton.