Walking aids: how to choose?

To make sure you choose the right walking aid for the job, it’s essential to consider a number of factors: the mobility needs of the person who’s going to use it, their physical condition, their lifestyle, the places where they’ll be using it and their personal preferences. To make the best possible comparison of all available walking aids, it is advisable to enlist the help of a professional.

The latest devices include the Wheeleo®, a walking aid unlike any other!

What is a walking aid?

A walking aid is a piece of equipment designed for use by frail people who have difficulty walking. Its mission is simple: to smooth and/or improve travel by offering greater stability, protection and safety both inside and outside the home.

There are a multitude of walking aids available today. They all have their own specific characteristics, enabling them to meet different needs. To choose the walking aid best suited to each situation, it’s first necessary to identify the basic needs that the aid must meet. These basic needs are linked to the future user’s age, state of health, location, lifestyle and, above all, mobility requirements. Moving around inside the home (from the wheelchair to the bathroom, to go to the toilet, getting out of bed), in restaurants, in stores… is very different from moving around outside.

The choice of walking aid will therefore be different for an elderly woman living on the 2nd floor of a building without an elevator, who lives alone and doesn’t go out much, than for a young man who has had an accident, works, has two children and has to make transfers several times a day. In fact, it’s not uncommon to have several different devices to deal with different situations. It’s a bit like having several pairs of shoes, so you can wear the ones that are best suited to the activities you’re doing (hiking, beach, mountain, sport, etc.).

What walking aids are available?

There are many walking aids available. Among the most commonly used are :

Walking sticks

  • Single-point canes rest on a single fulcrum and offer basic support and balance. These are classic, elegant walking sticks with ergonomic handles (simple or artistic). They offer security.
  • English canes or crutches rest on a single foot and offer better contact between cane and arm. This is comfortable in the hand, forearm or even armpit to relieve the load on the legs when walking or standing. These rods are often used in pairs of 2. But they must rest against a support: a chair, an armchair or a bed, once left aside. Otherwise, they end up on the ground.
  • Tripod or quadripod canes rest on 3 or 4 feet respectively for greater stability. They can, for example, be used to assist transfers between bed and wheelchair. They bring comfort.
  • The quadripod cane with castors offers practical assistance and enables effortless movement, while maintaining balance thanks to the 4 castors. This type of cane is easier to manoeuvre than walkers or other rollators. The Wheeleo® wheeled quad cane is also much more compact and lightweight than a wheeled walker, and offers constant support compared with conventional quad canes. This gives it a number of advantages.

To choose the right type of cane, you need to be aware of the person’s need for stability and the height of the cane. It must offer comfort and mobility.

It’s also important to choose the right type of cane, taking into account the strength of the person’s upper body.

Walkers or rollators

  • Standard or classic walkers feature a metal frame on 4 legs and ergonomic handles. They offer stability and improve balance problems.
  • Walkers with front wheels, also known as rollators, feature a metal frame resting on 4 support points, including two front wheels, and ergonomic handles for easy handling.
  • Rollators, which consist of a metal frame with four wheels. Some are equipped with a seat and handbrake.
  • Wheeleo® is the latest wheeled walker. Lightweight and compact, it offers a serious advantage over other wheeled walkers or rollators. And because its use allows you to keep your hand free while offering great stability, it is particularly interesting for interior spaces.

The most important factor in choosing the right equipment is the person’s ability to use and maneuver the walking aid. We also need to consider the usefulness of a seat (the comfort of a cushion), and the amount of space this equipment may take up in the person’s living environment (nursing home, private home, etc.). If the person is unable to manage the device alone, it’s best to choose a lighter, wheeled version, such as a Wheeleo®️.

In some cases, it can also be useful to equip yourself with a classic rollator and a Wheeleo®️ (just as you have several pairs of shoes) to choose the aid best suited to each situation. Having an alternative can help limit the risk of damage caused by the exclusive use of a rollator with two handles, which offers “too much help”.

3 questions to help you make the right choice :

https://www.wheeleo.eu/3-regles-pour-choisir-la-bonne-aide-a-la-marche/

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