Practice Walker Safety in Your Senior Living Community

Practice Walker Safety in Your Senior Living Community

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Using a walker safely can help you stay mobile in your senior living.

Having a walker doesn’t mean you can’t continue to enjoy many of the same activities that you always have. In fact, the proper use of a walker can actually help increase your mobility and help you stay more active in your senior living.

Using a walker safely can prevent you from taking a fall that could cause debilitating or life-threatening injury.

We have ten safety tips for seniors that will help make sure that your assistive device doesn’t end up harming you.

1. Use it.

You and your walker are a team. Wherever you go, so does your walker. And not just as a piece of art. Remember that your walker is there to help you stay mobile and prevent you from falling. Protect your independent senior living by using your walker.

2. Get the right momentum.

As you go along, you should be placing your weight on the handles and stepping forward into your walker, placing one leg inside the walker at a time before sliding it forward. Avoid hurrying or taking large steps as you walk. You want your feet to be in line with the back legs of your walker so that it doesn’t trip you up or get to far away from you.

Never try to climb stairs with a walker.

3. Employ proper posture.

Don’t hunch over your handlebars. Keeping your back straight as you walk will help you keep your balance and avoid future back pain.

4. Get a good grip.

Using a walker is almost like driving in some ways—keep both hands on the walker at all times unless you’re reaching for something. You can attach a bag or basket to your walker to carry items you need to bring with you.

5. Be mindful of balance.

While a walker basket is helpful in transporting necessities, you should be careful not to overload it. Placing too many items in the basket can cause your walker to become top-heavy and fall over, pulling you down with it or leaving you without support.

6. Practice proper reaching methods.

Whenever you open a door or need to pick something up (and put it in your walker basket!) when you’re on the move, brace one hand on a stable surface like a countertop, wall or table for support as you reach with your opposite hand. If you don’t have a flat surface available, you can use the middle of your walker, but never use the sides of your walker as support when you’re reaching for an item. Leaning too far can cause you and your walker to overbalance and tip over.

7. Keep your balance.

Over-reaching is one of the number one causes of falls in senior living. Protect yourself by getting as close to an object as you can before reaching for it.

8. Be smart about stability.

A walker doesn’t provide a sturdy grab bar for reaching, and it isn’t the best support to use when you’re getting up either. Use the arms or edges of a chair to push yourself to your feet rather than using your walker as a lever. If you have to use your walker, always make sure that your brakes are engaged before sitting down or getting up to decrease your chances of falling.

9. Think about positioning.

Consider which way a cabinet or doors swings before you open it, and make sure you’re out of its range. Standing in the path of an opening door can lead to a fall if it hits you or your walker.

10. Take anti-slip precautions.

Senior living communities take precautions to provide a safe living environment for their residents, but you can make doubly sure of your safety by taking extra precautions in hazardous areas. Wear well-fitted shoes with a non-skid tread and make sure that the legs of your walker are capped with rubber tips to increase stability on tile and hardwood floors.

Bryan Reynolds
June 07, 2013
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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