By: Walt Maclay | Posted: January 26, 2014 | Updated: April 5, 2023
Walkers are a life-saver for many people. They help older adults avoid falls and keep their independence. They also help patients in the hospitals who are recovering from surgeries or illnesses. They fill a need and many probably don’t think to examine the walker any further. However there hasn’t been much innovation in the walker arena in many years. The basic design has changed little and there is definitely room for improvement.
Storage and Customization
One of the most common additions you will see on a walker is a bag that has been attached to store items. This can help to lessen the burden of carrying heavy items in pockets. It’s also pretty much essential to transport items from point A to B since you need both hands to use a walker effectively. People add all sorts of bags to the walkers. Some of them are designed especially for walkers, while other are make-shift carryalls. But there’s just got to be a better solution. How are you supposed to carry food, or maybe even a cup of water? Walkers could have cup holders and come equipped with baskets especially designed to meet the needs of the owner. Perhaps when you order your walker you might get to choose your walker basket as a fun way to accessorize. A walker could change from a dull ambulatory aid and medical device into bright and bold accessory for baby boomers.
How many times have you seen a walker with a couple of dirty old tennis balls stuck on the back legs? Walkers are most likely the biggest cause of damaged tennis balls in the world. But it’s not because people don’t like tennis balls, but rather because tennis balls help fulfill a functional need for walker users: reducing the drag on the floor and eliminating the walker-scrub noise.
There are those that would argue that the legs of walkers are meant to have rubber bottoms so they stop in place and prevent falls. This may be the case, but there needs to be a way to prevent the scrub of the rubber against a tile floor while still allowing the walker to grip the floor when pressure is applied. Tennis balls won’t fulfill this level of functionally, because they cover the entire rubber foot. But what if walker feet were interchangeable and walker owners could select feet based upon their individual wants, needs, and medical recommendations? What if medical device vendors stepped up to the plate and made walkers a little more functional and maybe even fashionable?
Many walker users have come close to falling when passing over the bumps at curbs that signal the blind they are entering a street. Walkers that have small wheels can get stuck and fall over when they hit these bumps. Most walkers with larger wheels do not fold up so they can be easily put into a car. There is probably a good way to satisfy both needs. Baby carriages have seen huge advances in design. Why not walkers?
Aging with Dignity, Grace, and Style
Walker owners and healthcare professionals can make their voices heard and let medical device vendors know that walker design needs to be improved. Walkers may serve a purpose as is, but there is also room for improvement. Simple additions like a storage solution, cup holder, or customizable feet could go a long way toward improving owner satisfaction for these vital medical devices. Walker owners deserve to age with dignity, grace, and style. Some needed upgrades to stale medical devices can help make this happen.
How to Choose a Rollator
How to choose a rolling walker (rollator) is a topic that comes up often in our Longevity Explorer circles. One of the older adult members of the Longevity Explorers had been researching this topic in order to purchase a rollator for a family member. He pulled together a detailed presentation explaining all the different features available ina rollator and how to select the best rollator for a specific person.
You can see the presentation here:
Rollator feature comparisons
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