I saw many short, hunched over seniors during my time working in long-term care facilities. Rarer were the tall, upright seniors. They needed less common medical equipment – such as tall walkers for seniors. I can remember the occupational therapist always struggling to adjust walkers to accommodate taller fellows.
There’s a reason people have to search for these. It’s because most walkers are made for people of average height, and as we age, that average height goes down. But not to fear – we have some recommended tall walkers that should suit even the tallest person… well, most tall people.
How to Size a Walker
Before you go ordering a walker, it’s important to know exactly how tall you need it to be. Follow these steps and get your number, then shop accordingly.
- Stand up straight with your shoes on.
- Hang your hands, naturally at your sides.
- Measure from your wrist crease to the floor.
- This length should be your handle height.
- If possible, choose a walker that adjusts approximately one inch higher and lower than your actual measurement so you can adjust it, as necessary.
What Height Do Walkers Come In?
Most walkers come in a standard width, but are adjustable for height. That being said, there are a few different categories into which walkers fit, so that people of all heights can have the most stable, safe experience.
- Junior Walkers: Adjustable to suit users between 4’8” and 5’2” tall.
- Standard Walkers: Adjustable to suit users between 5’3” and 5’11” tall.
- Tall Walkers: Adjustable to suit users between 5’11” and 6’4” tall
- Bariatric Walkers: Weight-based walkers for users between 300 and 700lbs.
5 Great Tall Walkers for Seniors
The term “standard walker” can be a little deceiving. Some use it as a measure of the size of a walker, but it is also used to describe the kind of walker frame that doesn’t have wheels on it (or only has front wheels).
1 – Best Tall Rollator
Another type of “walker” is called a rollator. These usually have 3 or 4 wheels, handles, brakes, and even a seat in between the legs. If this is what you’re looking for, consider our article on best rollators. If you need a rollator specifically designed for taller people, the Drive Medical Nitro Rollator in a tall size it is recommend. The handles come up to 41 inches, which is a full 2 inches higher than most others.
- Rolling Walker with Seat: The Nitro walker combines larger wheels and advanced features with a sleek design for a safe, smooth experience; available in 3 sizes, the tall walker is a great walker for seniors and adults 6 feet and over seeking advanced maneuverability and comfort in a lightweight, foldable rollator
- Superior Wheels: Large 10-inch front casters glide the 4-wheeled walker over curbs and rough terrain while offering the rollator walker optimal maneuvering around furniture and corners
A standard-sized, standard-type walker is between 32 and 40 inches in height. Typically, there’s some kind of adjustment so you can find the exact right height for you or your loved one.
Walkers also come in various widths. Standard size is between 24 and 29 inches wide, although you can get narrower ones if you or your loved one is small and needs less space or has to navigate through narrow hallways.
The user should be able to fit in between the legs of the walker. They shouldn’t have to lean forward and use the walker in front of them; instead they should be stepping into the space between the legs of the walker.
If your senior loved one is taller than average, you’ll need to get a tall walker for them to be able to use it safely and comfortably.
2 – Best Two-Button Folding Walker
Drive Medical 10200-1 Deluxe 2-Button Folding Walker, Silver
This is a folding walker designed for safety and convenience. This walker features a push-button mechanism, easily operated by fingers, palms, or even the side of the hand. Constructed for maximum stability from sturdy aluminum, that is strong yet lightweight.
- Folding Walker: Designed for safety and convenience, our walkers feature push-button mechanisms that may be operated by fingers, palms, or even the side of the hand
- Quality Construction: Constructed for maximum stability from sturdy aluminum, this adult walker is strong yet lightweight
The walker has an adjustable height. Measured from the handles to the floor it can range between 32 and 39″. If you need wheels on the front, there is also a version for that.
A key advantage to this walker is its curved bar at the front end. This allows it to be set around and over a toilet seat, giving the user the added benefit of toilet handles, helping them get down and onto the toilet. If toilet mobility is a particular challenge, make sure the toilet is of proper height, which can also improve safety.
This simple, standard walker is very common. If you cannot wait for one to be delivered, it is possible to buy these at large pharmacies and even some big box stores.
3 – Best Lightweight Folding Rollator
Drive Medical 10243 Clever Lite Deluxe Foldable Rollator Walker
A modern, stylish, lightweight, aluminum framed walker with a soft seat for comfort and stability. The front wheels can be set on a swivel or fixed position; four 8-inch wheels allow for optimal steering and rolling comfort of this walker with wheels. It folds up easily and can be carried around with ease.
- Rolling Walker: Stylish and modern walker features a lightweight frame, a special loop lock, and a soft seat for comfort and stability; comes in a 1-inch diameter sturdy, anodized, and extruded aluminum construction
- Optimal Maneuverability: Wheeled walker features front wheels that can be set on a swivel or fixed position; four 8-inch wheels allow for optimal steering and rolling comfort of this walker with wheels
Note the specifications on this unit:
- Seat dimensions: 11 inches in depth x 19 inches in width x 23 to 27.5 inches in height
- Handle height: 35 to 39 inches
- Inside hand grip width: 19 inches
- Width inside back legs: 21 inches
- Weight capacity: 300lbs
4 – Best 3-Wheel Rollator
NOVA Traveler 3-Wheel Rolling Walker
This is a great alternative for someone who does not require the stability of a 4-wheeled walker and is looking for a more light and maneuverable option. The walker has 8″ solid tires that will not puncture and provide a smooth ride on any terrain. It has basket, tray and carry pouch.
It is recommended for people between 5’4″ and 6’2″ tall.
- FEATURES: The Traveler is the ideal walker for maneuvering diverse and small spaces, is super easy to fold in just seconds and stays in a folded standard position making it so easy to roll and park just about anywhere. It comes with a tray, large zippered storage pouch and basket. Comes with NOVA’s standard features and beautiful long lasting paint finish
- WHEELS & BRAKES: Equipped with All-Terrain 8" rubber wheels with a 1 3/4" wide base, NOVA's wheels are durable, great for indoor and outdoor use and make the ride smooth and stable. NOVA's patented feather touch hand brakes are uniquely designed for maximum comfort and control. It is easy to engage the brake with a small grip and minimal hand strength. Parking or locking the brakes takes just a gentle push downward on the lever and a pull upwards to release. Our brakes are backed by the best Brake Warranty with a 5 year warranty on all brake parts
The NOVA Traveler comes in several different colors and collapses for easy stowing in vehicles or around the house. Folded dimensions are just 9.25″ wide and 33-37.25″ high depending on height setting.
The nice thing about these units is that they come with built-in trays and baskets for carrying personal items. While it comes at a higher price than standard, simple walkers, there is a cost saved by not having to buy accessories if those are desired (more on walker accessories in a bit).
5 – Best Upright Walker
ELENKER Upright Walker, Stand Up Folding Rollator Walker
If the user walks hunched over, or the user has reduced hand/arm strength, this could be the right choice as it offers padded armrests to make walking upright easier (and safer).
Back Straight and Remain Active: The height of padded armrest from ground is between 38”-47”, padded armrests keep your arms at a natural level, relieves stress on shoulders and back.
- Back Straight and Remain Active: The height of padded armrest from ground is 38”-47”, soft padded armrests keep your forearms at a natural level, relieve painful stress on shoulders and back.
- Stability and Security: Solid PVC material 10” front+ 8" rear wheels, 360°swivel front wheels for easy maneuvering, sturdy enough for indoor and outdoor smooth ride. Ergonomic hand brakes, push forward to slow or stop.
This walker is suitable for indoor and outdoor activities. The ergonomic handbrakes push forward to slow or stop. It is easy assembly, no need any tools, compact size for storage. It has tall 10″ front wheels.
The unit also comes in different styles, from compact folding to all-terrain. The all-terrain unit has the highest user heigh setting, good for people up to 6’4″! That is going to cover most tall seniors. The heavy duty and compact folding models have a maximum user height setting of 6’2″.
Users may decide they need some accessories for their walkers. Higher-end models typically come with baskets and packs, but most basic models can be customized.
Putting wheels on the front of your walker eliminates the need to pick it up with every step, making the walker a lot easier to use. However, it can also create entirely new problems with the back legs.
Most walkers come with rubber leg tips designed for stability and skid-prevention, but when you add wheels to the front of your walker, those non-skid tips are only going to get in your way. Walker glides are replacement tips for the back walker legs. They are designed to glide smoothly and easily over most surfaces, allowing you the full advantage of your walker’s wheels.
- For use with all 1" folding walkers
- Easily added to walker
There are many types of glides (ski glides, glide caps, or ball glides) available, varying in price and function. Think about where you intend to use your walker and how long you want each set of glides to last in order to choose the style that is best for you. It’s possible that simple tennis balls on the walkers would suffice.
Baskets and Bags
In many cases, a simple backpack can be strung around a walker or rollator, but they are not designed specifically for the task so they may have dangling straps, wobble when there’s movement, etc. We’ve written before on best walker baskets. These will work better than bags for the person who only needs to set a book or snack in the basket when they move from point A to point B.
A walker flashlight is a great safety feature to add to any walker. Falls are the number one cause of injury to older adults, and poor lighting can be a contributing factor. Low or no light is unsafe, but adding a flashlight takes the fooling and fumbling around in the dark out of the equation.
- UNIVERSAL FIT FLASHLIGHT fits any mobility device with 7/8" - 1" tubing including bikes and strollers
- EASILY ATTACHES with an attachment clip that pivots so you can set the direction of the flashlight and easily remove it for hand use.
When Is It Time To Consider a Walker?
Changes in posture and walking pattern are common with aging. The skeleton provides support and structure to the body. Joints are the areas where bones come together, these allow the skeleton to be flexible for movement. In a joint, bones do not make direct contact each other. Instead, they are cushioned by cartilage, synovial membranes around the joint, and fluid.
Bones become more brittle and break more easily. Overall height decreases, because the trunk and spine shorten.
The breakdown of the joints may lead to inflammation, pain, stiffness, and deformity. These joint changes affect older people. These changes may range from minor stiffness to severe arthritis.
Posture becomes more stooped (bent), knees and hips become more flexed, and the shoulders may narrow while the pelvis becomes wider.
Movement in older people begins to slow and may become limited. The walking pattern (gait) becomes slower and shorter. Walking may become unsteady, and there is less arm swinging. Older people get tired more easily and have less energy.
The senior might need to consider a walker if they start displaying the following conditions:
- Osteoporosis is a common problem, especially for older women. Bones break more easily. Compression fractures can cause pain and reduce mobility.
- Fatigue, weakness, and reduced activity due to muscle weakness. Joint problems may range from mild stiffness to arthritis (osteoarthritis).
- Gait changes, instability, and loss of balance may lead to falls, increasing the risk of injury.
- Involuntary movements are more common in the older people. Older people who are not active may have weakness.
- People who are unable to move on their own, or who do not stretch their muscles with exercise, may get muscle contractures.
If you experience lack of confidence, shortness of breath, arthritic pain, or can’t walk and carry objects at the same time. If you are afraid of falling, being alone and becoming socially isolated, you may need a walker.
Walkers are an essential piece of durable medical equipment for seniors. Many of these walkers are designed for short to average height people, making talk walkers for seniors a bit of a challenge to find. It’s not impossible, however, and I hope this list has proven helpful.
Osteoporosis note: If you have osteoporosis, talk to your provider about prescription treatments. Walking frames and wheeled walkers offer different levels of support and mobility to people who have varying needs. If you need help staying upright when walking around then a walking frame would be a good option; but if you’re steadier on your feet and wanting something that will help you carry your shopping around town, then a wheeled walker is the better option.