Despite the fact that walkers are meant to assist persons who may have trouble on their feet, walkers could use some safety improvements. For many, walkers are hard to grasp; require the use of two hands, thus preventing a person from carrying items; and have a tendency to “catch,” often quite dangerously, on carpeting and other surfaces that are not perfectly smooth (or ironically, don’t slide well on smooth surfaces).
Here is a short guide to maintaining walker safety, along with a list of some items that will assist in this goal:
Walker hand grips are often anything but. Standard grips are smooth, hard, and unfriendly to the human hand. Not to mention, slippery when one’s hand is wet. And don’t you just love the feeling of cold steel on your hand in the dead of winter? Walker hand grips come in terrycloth or fleece, slip on in a snap, and help you to “keep your grip.”
Manufacturers have been responsive to consumers in recent years by providing a wide range of carrying accessories for walkers. The classic “big front bag” for walkers has been improved upon, and other bags, boxes, and cases have been added for more specialized purposes.
You really can’t beat the big front bag for carrying capacity. These bags tend to come in washable fabric and are nearly as wide as the walker itself. Often, you will find segmented compartments within these big front bags. Pockets can be accessed from the front, or from both the front and the back. Standard colors tend toward the darker hues, to resist dirt and staining, but attractive quilted walker totes are available, too.
With less capacity but easier to manage are the side bags, some large enough to accommodate books and magazines. Water resistant fabric keeps your valuables high and dry, should you get caught in a sudden downpour.
Even small items, such as cell phones, glasses, and keys can occupy one of your hands — at a time when you need two hands on the walker. Smaller cases, including some hard-shelled cases, can be found which free your hands to move the walker along.
One major complaint of walker users is that they are hard to move on carpeting and other non-smooth surfaces. A moving walker that suddenly stops moving is a recipe for an accidental somersault. Or the opposite problem is that the rubber tips won’t slide on smooth floors!
Deal with uncooperative surfaces with neat walker accessories that help you glide along. While they won’t help you slalom down the slopes, walker skis pop easily onto the walker legs and help you slide, rather than snag, on carpeting.
Skiing not your sport? How about tennis? Ball glides ingeniously use tennis balls to help the walker slide along over smooth surfaces like wood, tile, and vinyl flooring — and never leave a mark.