How to use a walker safely

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elderly person using walker
A walker can be invaluable to an elderly person who could not otherwise walk
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A walker is an invaluable assistive device for those who can't walk unassisted

If you or someone you are taking care of is using a walker, you must use it properly. If not, it can end in a calamity. You would not be the first person to get tangled up in a walker and tumble to the ground. Follow these guidelines to use a walker safely, or assisting someone else in the safe use of their walker, and you should be fine.

Your first order of business is choosing the correct walker. A walker is a mobility assistive device that has four legs and a three-sided metal frame. Walkers are used when an individual cannot walk on his own steam. His balance may be poor or he may be too weak to walk without an aid.

When selecting your walker, determine that the walker has rubber grips for your hands and non-skid rubber tips or wheels, which prevent you from sliding.

Some walkers are lightweight, which makes it easy for you to lift when you are going up or down stairs. A walker can feature front wheels which make it easier for to move whereas others are made of heavy metal. Some walkers have hand breaks. Check to see if the wheels are sturdy, which is imperative.

A walker may come with a basket attached so you can carry items and some walkers are adjustable so you can make them shorter or taller to accommodate your height. Keeping your hands free and maintaining the correct posture helps you to use a walker safely.

When you first start using your walker, you must learn to use a walker safely so you do not stumble and fall, injuring yourself.

When getting up front a chair, put the walker directly in front of the chair and slide your bottom forward in the chair. Put your hands on the arms of the chair and slowly stand. Grasp the walker handles firmly and then move your body forward into the center of the walker. Get yourself balanced. Move the walker forward about one footstep head of you, making sure that the walker is set on the ground firmly before you take a step. Continue to grasp the walker firmly and take small steps. Do not make the mistake of putting the walker too far ahead of you as you walk.

When you want to sit down, stand with your back facing the chair. Press the backs of your legs against the chair. Place the walker in front of you. If one of your legs is weaker than the other, slide the weaker leg slightly in front of you as you firmly grasp the walker, putting all of your weight on the stronger leg. Keeping one hand on the walker, reach for the chair armrest with your other hand and grasp the armrest grimly. Move the other hand away from the walker and grasp the other armrest. Slowly sit down and slide yourself back into the chair.

Look at the floor or check out the ground if you are outside. You need to see what you are walking. If an interior floor is wet or the room is not illuminated well enough you could slip and fall. Get rid of throw rugs that can trip you. Realize that walking on thick carpet may be tricky. If you notice lose carpet edges, nail or tape them down. Get rid of all of the clutter that is in your path. Keep your floor dry.

Routinely examine your walker to make sure the rubber wheels and tips are secure. If they are worn out, replace them. When walking, look straight ahead, after first checking out your environment. If you are looking down you may run into something.

As with all assistive devices and mobility-related living solutions, in order to use a walker safely you must remember to take small steps, do not tilt or pull on your walker when you are getting up from a resting position and sit in chairs that have firm armrests, which can assist you in getting up and down.

If you are feeling dizzy, stay put. Do not try to walk, even with the assistance of your walker.

References: How to choose and use a walker how to use a wheeled walker

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