Select a walker that has rubber grips for the hands and nonskid rubber-tipped wheels to keep you from sliding. Check the rubber tips or wheels regularly for wear and tear and replace them often to avoid slipping and falling. Wear shoes or slippers with rubber soles. Ensure that the floor is clean, dry and well-lit. Remove any scatter rugs to prevent falls. Avoid areas with thick carpets.
Select a walker that can be adjusted for height. As you age, this feature will come in handy. Ask your caregiver to attach a bag or basket for small items such as purses, wallets and books. For indoor use, select a walker with a lightweight metal frame that is easy to lift as you walk. If you need a walker for indoor and outdoor use, choose a walker with a heavy metal frame, sturdy wheels and hand brakes. Some walkers can be folded for travel or storage.
Choose from a selection of walkers to suit your needs. If you select a traditional walker that rests on four legs, you can lift it and place it some distance ahead of you. You can lean on the walker to provide stability as you walk. A rolling walker also rests on four legs but has a wheel at the bottom of each leg. Instead of lifting the walker, you can lean on it while pushing it forward on its wheels. Other options include a platform walker, hemi walker and three-wheel walker.
Ask your caregiver or a health-care professional to teach you how to use the walker. If you cannot reach the walker by yourself, ensure that someone is always with you when using it. Put the walker in front of your chair and slowly stand up. Firmly grasp the handles of the walker and move forward into it. Stand with your walker until you feel balanced and secure. When you are ready to walk, move the walker forward about one footstep ahead of you. Move forward taking small steps. Do not try to walk if you feel dizzy or faint. Do not use an escalator or climb stairs with your walker.