Walker Use in Older Adults: Impact on Occupations

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L

Thesis Advisor

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L


OBJECTIVE. I he purpose of this research study was to examine the occupational impact of walker use in older adults. The researchers sought to answer the following questions (a) Do walkers facilitate functional activity for older adults, (b) Do walkers impede functional activity for older adults, (c) What are the attitudes towards walker use held by older adults, and (d) Is there a gender-related preference in older adults for types of walkers?

METHOD. A mixed-method non-experimental descriptive research design composed of quantitative and qualitative methods was used. A convenience sample of residents between the ages of 76 and 99 years old from The Redwoods, a senior living community in Mill Valley, California, was used for this research study.

RESULTS. Participants occupationally adapted walker use into every aspect of their lives but did not always use their walkers safely. Rollator walkers were preferred. The wheels and the seats enabled participants to continue to functionally participate in a variety of activities.

CONCLUSION. Older adults rely on walkers for everyday occupations, but do not always use them safely. The development of programs to increase the knowledge of healthcare professionals and walker users on safe walker use is indicated. Further research is needed that focuses on the proper use of walkers, the relationship between walker use and falls, and diverse groups of walker users.

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