Welcome to ‘Community Health TV’. Today we’re talking about walkers. In particular this model, just as an example, is the peak care Elipse Walker.

Considerations when choosing a walker

There’s many different types of walkers on the market that our Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists will often be helping people decide what’s suitable for them. There’s a range of things to consider from price, because models like this can be expensive, all the way through to all types of dimensions, types of wheels, types of brakes, how they fold, etcetera.

Why we choose the Elipse Walker

The reason we would consider a walker like this is that it’s lightweight. It’s made of carbon fiber, so it’s only a couple of kilos in total weight. It’s an X-fold model. So the frame underneath comes from this X pattern here. Old models folded this way, flat. This model folds through the middle, which makes it quite easy to move in and out of cars in particular, but also for storing in the house. If you’re tight for space, it’s really easy to negotiate around, very easy to operate. It’s also tool free in it’s adjustment, in particular its break mechanism down the bottom here. Old models used to be really challenging to modify their brakes, you’d have to get spanners out and try and really adjust it, almost like a bike. However these you have quite large, easy adjustable mechanisms to tighten that brake mechanism. The brakes are light touch as well, so really easy to operate, which is important if people are living with weakness in their hand, or they might be living with a musculoskeletal condition like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis of the hands that makes it hard to grip. So that lightweight operation is really important to be able to use.

Sitting on the walker

That could be by body dimensions, but also weight. This model has a safe weight limit of 120 kilos. We like to see people being at 10% within that range, so we would prefer people to be around 110 kilos or less to be confident. Why would we say that? Well, most walkers will have the ability to store things, so there may be additional weight sitting in the walker or the person sitting down, maybe carrying something as well, so that extra safety to operate within that safe weight limits, we like to see somebody sitting under that.

Price of the Elipse Walker

Price, you probably thinking, what sort of price does these sorts of walkers end up costing? They are carbon fiber, they are expensive. They typically retail, depending on supply and where you’re watching in Australia, or the world, they’re often around $600 in total price. In our opinion, it’s quite well priced for the type of product they are, and also the independence that that provides somebody. So these models, with their larger wheels and all the extra benefits that they provide, as well as how durable they are. A lot of cheaper models, around $200 or less, we often find that their brake mechanisms are not durable and people may spend a third of the price now, but end up finding themselves replacing that walker several times before this type of walker has even issued a problem for them. So it’s one of those things where you often get what you pay for. However, we’re also mindful of individual budgets and also needs. If you’re only using a cheaper model walker some times, then it probably makes sense because you’re not going to wear it out as much. However, if you’re going to use a walker all the time, an older adult, someone living with a disability, and this is what allows you independence with your walking and you’re going to use it every day, every time you’re walking, I would be opting for something at the higher end of a price range because it’s going to be more durable and also have those added features of very lightweight, larger wheels, easy to operate brakes and non tool adjustments of handle size, etcetera.
Let us know if you got any questions about walkers, always happy to answer them. But that’s all for today, and we’ll see you next time. Bye!