5 Signs You Need to Trade Your Walker for a Wheelchair

by Medical XPress

Elderly man helping woman use walkerTransitioning from using a walker to using a wheelchair can be difficult for many people. As we age, we can begin to feel that we are constantly sacrificing our independence in various ways, and moving from a walker to a wheelchair can feel like another one of those sacrifices. However, there are many circumstances in which switching from a walker to a wheelchair is better for your health, safety, and overall quality of life. Here are 5 signs that may indicate you need to make the transition.

Your Doctor Recommends It

Though it can be hard to hear, it’s important to heed your doctor’s advice, if they suggest moving from a walker to a wheelchair. More often than not, doctors will err on the side of you maintaining your independence. After all, the more independent mobility you have, the longer you will retain your strength and flexibility. So, if your doctor is recommending that you make the switch, then it is likely for a very good reason.

You’re Prone to Falling with Your Walker

Falls do happen, and they can be serious among senior citizens. If you’ve fallen once or twice while using your walker, it’s not usually something to be too concerned about, so long as you weren’t injured too badly. However, if you find yourself tripping and falling on a regular basis, due to an inability to utilize the walker properly, then it’s probably time to find another mobility option.

In some cases, switching to a different type of walker might be a sufficient solution. For example, some people find that Rollator walkers move too quickly for them as they age, and switching to a walker with stationary feet can solve their problems. However, if you’re struggling to stay on your feet with any type of walker, a wheelchair may be the better option for you.

You’ve Had a Change in Mobility

Many senior citizens can experience sudden and even drastic changes to their independent mobility. Whether it’s a fall that has caused an injury, or a stroke that’s impacted your mobility, these sudden changes require a reassessment of your current mobility aids.

For example, if you were using a walker because you struggle to support your weight on your legs, then had a stroke that impacted your ability to move one of your arms, you may no longer be able to properly use a walker. This would make a wheelchair a much safer option for you.

You Can’t Get Far with a Walker

Many senior citizens struggle with any extended period of physical exertion. While this is perfectly normal, and doesn’t necessarily eliminate your ability to utilize a walker, the situation can worsen over time. If you find yourself having to sit and rest after only a minute or two of using your walker, you may be better served by purchasing a wheelchair.

At the very least, you can continue to use your walker in your home, where you don’t have to go very far to find a seat, and utilize the wheelchair for any time you may be out of the house. This way, you don’t have to worry about overexerting yourself while out on a walk or at a store because you were unable to find a convenient place to rest.

Walking Causes Pain

Whether it be from an injury or arthritis, if walking causes you excessive pain, then it may be time to switch to a wheelchair. Of course, you should always consult with your doctor on matters like these first; it may be that your pain can be treated, and you can maintain your mobility with a little physical therapy. However, if your doctor agrees that there is no way to reduce your discomfort, and you simply cannot bear the pain caused by walking, a wheelchair can greatly improve your quality of life.

Making the Switch

Remember, transitioning from a walker to a wheelchair doesn’t necessarily have to be a complete and sudden change. You can continue to utilize your walker in proper situations where you feel safe and comfortable doing so, and make a more gradual switch to the wheelchair. Ultimately, the most important thing is your safety and comfort.

If any of the above are true for you, and you think you’re ready to make the switch, stop by one of our locations and view our available wheelchairs in our showroom. There are many options available to suit your needs, and we’re happy to find one that is just right for you.