For many of us, walking seems easy and is something to which we don’t give a second thought. For a large portion of the population, however, walking is challenging enough that assistance is needed. Approximately 25% of Canadian seniors require a walking aid (canes, scooters, walkers). Gait aids help reduce the risk of falling, improve stability during walking, and help normalize walking patterns.
For those requiring a walker, there are a variety of walker types. Your therapist will recommend the style that is best for your condition and ability. Whether you need a walker with 4 wheels and a seat (called a rollator), or one with 2 wheels, or no wheels, I recommend speaking with your therapist.
In Ontario, the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) (government funded program) pays 75% of the cost of a rollator for residents who meet the criteria for funding. Essentially you have to be an Ontario resident with a valid health card, require the rollator at all times (not just for work or just outside the home, for example), have a physical disability of longer than 6 months, and not have had ADP funding for another rollator in the past 5 years. You will also need an ADP authorized therapist to fill out the application for you.
Check out the ADP fact sheet for more information. Check out my Do’s and Don’ts of Rollator use:
- Consult a therapist to ensure you get the correct rollator.
- Read your manual before using your rollator for the first time for the specific use of your model.
- Roll the walker slowly, taking even, short steps.
- Keep your arms closer to your body, elbows slightly bent.
- When turning, stay inside the handles of the rollator and roll and turn the walker rather than twisting your body.
- When sitting, lock the brakes and keep the backs of your legs close to the seat.
- Place one hand on the seat and one on the handle while sitting down.
- Bend forward slightly and lean back slowly to sit.
- When sitting, make sure both feet are flat on the floor.
- To get up, place one hand on the seat and one on the handle, lean forward while keeping your feet under you and slowly stand.
- Turn to face the rollator before disengaging the brakes to walk.
- Don’t push the rollator ahead of your body with arms outstretched.
- Don’t walk quickly or with uneven steps.
- Never turn or change direction without moving the rollator at the same time.
- Do not use the seat as a wheelchair.
- Don’t let go of the rollator until you are in a safe position to be properly seated on furniture.
- Don’t forget to use the brakes when sitting or standing up from the seat.
- Avoid lifting the rollator on curbs or uneven ground. Use the curb climber if available.
Aim2Walk offers ADP application assistance with our in-house ADP Authorizer. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-679-9255 for more information.