What size walker should I choose?

Beth in danvers, ma asked...

How do I choose the correct size walker for my mother? She is 89 and recovering from a broken hip. She is about 5'1" so does she need a smaller than normal walker?

Expert Answer

I'm glad you asked this question. This is because you shouldn't choose a walker size for your mother without first having her assessed by a physical or occupational therapist. In other words, don't go it alone! Getting the wrong size walker can actually increase your parents' fall risk, so it's important to get a professional assessment before buying a walker. Check out this similar Q & A on buying a walker. The therapist can suggest what size and type of walker is best for your mom, as well as train her in using it.

Ask your mom's doctor for referrals to a physical therapist who can assess her for a walker or walking aide. These assessments are usually done by physical therapists, but can also be done by occupational therapists. Your mom's doctor should have names for you.

I keep hearing how much more independent and self-confident people feel after adjusting to using a walking aide, as their increased stability makes them less afraid of falling. (Here's another helpful Q & A on encouraging your parent to use a walker.) I certainly hope this is the case for your mom.