Walkers for the Elderly – What does this mean? Walkers are a form of Assistive Technology (AT) that are used to provide users additional support to maintain balance and stability while walking. You will likely be familiar with what these look like as they are a very common form of Assistive Technology equipment. If you’re a Geelong AFL supporter, you may have seen the team sporting a fantastic range of walkers for the elderly for Mad Monday after winning the 2022 AFL Premiership, (for image and article, click here).
But enough about AFL, let’s dive into walkers, how they are used, and why they are prescribed to participants and clients. We spoke with Lynda, our Newcastle NSW based Physiotherapist and Team Leader for her insights on walkers for the elderly, and answers to some frequently asked questions:
Many people know of the term ‘walker’ but what other names are they known by?
Rollators, four-wheeled walkers, and frames are other names walkers can be known by.
What is the difference between using a walking stick and a walker?
A walker provides a greater level of support for a person. The main use for a walking stick is to provide a small amount of support or assist with small balance corrections, compared to a walker that can be used to lean on and support the person, they have a large base of support which increases this support and stability.
What types of walkers are available, and do they all assist with the same function?
Walkers can have seats to rest on, baskets or trays to carry items, and they can have gutters instead of handles so the person can lean through their forearms for even greater support and balance. All walkers assist with the same function but vary in the level of support they can provide to the person.
Is it hard for a therapist to prescribe a walker?
The prescription of a walker is something that a therapist can do on a daily basis. I have worked with people that require walkers for decades and can assess the need for a walker by looking at how a person walks and by determining their risk of falling through various physical or functional assessments.
What is involved when prescribing walkers for the elderly?
The type of walker needs to be considered as well as what the walker will be used for and where the walker will be used. Many people have a walker in the house and then a second in their car or outside for when they are out in the community.
Is it just elderly clients that can benefit from assistance from a walker?
Not at all. There can be a stigma with walkers and even walking sticks that are only for older clients. However, walkers can be beneficial for anyone at any age to assist with their walking, to assist in preventing falling, and to allow the person to be more independent in their home or out in the community.
What types of therapists can prescribe a walker?
A physiotherapist will typically prescribe walkers as we tend to focus on the quality of mobility, as well as assess the potential risk of falls, muscle strength, and balance.
Can you receive financial assistance to buy a walker?
Yes, it is an assistive technology, classified under personal mobility equipment, and may be covered by NDIS funding, a Short-term Restorative Care package, or Home Care Packages.
For more details on Physiotherapists and how they prescribe AT equipment, including walkers for the elderly, watch the video below:
Did you know that when it comes to Assistive Technology, walkers for the elderly are only just one category of equipment that can be prescribed?
Assistive Technology can come in all different forms to assist our clients to perform functions that they cannot do. Assistive Technology can assist clients in their daily living, mobility, seating & positioning, speech communication, learning & cognition, vision, hearing, recreation, and a whole lot more.
If you would like to learn more about our Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, and Behaviour Support services and how they can assist in prescribing walkers for the elderly and assistive technology equipment for you to achieve your goals to engage in the community, click here.
Want to make a referral? Complete one of our referral forms by clicking here, or call 1300 340 440 to speak with our friendly team.