• Dagmar

    September 14, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    Why do we resist and feel it is a matter of “giving in”?? Pride? Negative connotations of a walker? What others will think of us? There are a lot of emotional reasons and rationalizations.

    Funny thing is that none of them include “safety, improved posture, less strain on non-ALS affected muscles.” Because those are logical, rational reasons.

    For me, it was reaching the point that grabbing furniture was treacherous – – seemed the furniture was getting too far apart. And I was using a walking cane but it was always in the way or I dropped it onto the floor. Fortunately, I transitioned to a rollator before having a nasty fall.

    It is a hard decision to make. But looking back I realize I should have begun using a rollator waaay sooner.

    • Dick

      September 16, 2022 at 4:39 pm

      After I fell down twice relying on furniture and a cane. And after I pulled my caregiver down with me.Also, the rollator gives me a place to sit down when tired from walking, especially at the mall.

  • Pete Caluori

    September 15, 2022 at 2:30 pm

    Swallow your pride and be glad you can still walk!

  • Kathleen B (Katie)

    September 15, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    I began using a walker after going thru  trekking sticks use, then 1 AFO on weak leg with foot drop, then single cane, next double cane use—in the span of time from June 2020-May 2021.  I was still driving at this time, and going to PT—plus Dr. appointments—all PRE-diagnosis.  It was my husband who brought a walker into the house (formerly used by his Mom with Parkinson’s) & ‘offered’ that it might be a good idea to use it when I was out on own in parking lots & shopping, for better safety. (He also knew I was walking VERY SLOW…and that I am fiercely independent).  So, I did start using one for our-&-about trips.  At ALS Clinic diagnosis of ALS, (mid-May 2021) the walker was highly recommended as ‘mode of movement’, along with neuro PT to learn its uses for safety & energy conservation.  Very BIG help.  And precursor to losing ability in other leg & not driving, and full time in & out of home use of the 4-wheeled walker (by Dec.2021).  So it IS a process, not an event to using one. I DID NOT want to fall and be injured, and I wanted to go places and do things.  Indeed—this is my view—I did ‘give in’ for safe independence—but I cognitively know for certain that there is no way it is comparable to standing/walking/moving about without support.  Life with ALS means continuous ‘replacing’ of the old ways of doing & living with new ideas & alternatives—to get as much longevity out of this diagnosis as we can.  AND helping those around us understand how much in life we all come to take simple things for granted.

  • John M C

    September 17, 2022 at 12:22 pm

    This topic really hits home for me. I am at the point where I know deep down I should start to use a walker for safety, yet i don’t want to cross that line as it seems like a major milestone – it feels like I am giving up or giving in. I don’t want to admit defeat. I have had lots of falls, but none that were serious….yet. That will likely be my catalyst. I know the effort necessary to walk now is causing me lots of pain and I am sure contributes to the fatigue. But, I don’t want to give up walking til I absolutely have to. Part of it is a “pride” thing as I already feel like people are looking at me as I hobble around with a walking stick. A walker will draw more eyes. I own and have used both a walker and chair when traveling. I was very aware of the eyes. In my small town I fear it will draw the inevitable question “what happened to you” from those who I haven’t seen in awhile and the awkward explanation that follows. Another part of it is convenience. I can walk short distances and don’t want to unpack my walker from my car then put it back. I’m still working and I am already in everyone else’s way. My walker will make that worse. I want to put off relying on others as long as I can. Worst of all, I am stubborn!

    • Debbie Zolnierowicz

      September 20, 2022 at 8:13 am

      John, your explanation really hits home.   My husband started using a cane about a year ago, and he stubbornly stayed with it until this last March.  He has a “field” job, and he was out making a visit when he fell in the parking lot.  He wasn’t hurt physically too much, but it opened a lot of questions at work and definitely hurt emotionally.

      Before my husband needed mobility aids, I was one of those people who “watched”.  Mostly waiting on stand-by, wanting to let a person exercise their independence but keeping an eye open “just in case”.  Now I approach it a little differently and try to offer assistance without questions, just a smile and a helping hand.  And I’m definitely more comfortable looking AT a person using a device, and trying not to “look past their disability”.  I mean, how can you look past it?  Why should we?  Compassion, dignity, and inclusion are my approach now.  I feel like the people who acknowledge his limits and address him in a caring way make a bigger impact than those who just try to “treat him like normal”.

      I’m rambling now, but the point I’m trying to make is that you may be surprised at new connections you make when you make your decision to move to a walker.  People in the periphery of your life can mostly connect to their own limits or those of someone they know.  And the people closer to you might feel a little relieved.  The more comfortable you are with expressing your level of comfort or fatigue, the better for you!

  • Kathleen B (Katie)

    September 19, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    I can TOTALLY relate to the ‘stubborn’ concept John (M C )mentions!  I often inter-changes it with the words ‘determined’ or ‘persistent’.  I was not an athlete at all, but I WAS a perpetual motion person—and loved mobility of all sorts (except carnival rides). So, I resisted and persisted in ‘walking upright with dignity’ once my husband brought home a walker & said he wanted me safe while he was at work still.  He watched, he waited for me to understand — then he put it in plain terms: if you fall and get injured, we will have less quality time together, or maybe none at all. Period.  THAT made sense … it’s not all about me—it is ‘us’ that really counted.  I listened & learned—an old lesson, but a truth: Sometimes what we want is not really what we need.  Be safe John—those ‘eyes’ you notice might just be the caring folks that would rather see you SAFELY moving about, rather than not being there at all any longer.

  • Patty

    November 15, 2022 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks for your responses to my question. Your answers have helped. I was using a cane and after a couple falls, I have given in to the rollator.I have drop foot on left and I have had a few falls; always attributing them to: my shoe got caught on the rug, or my shoe got stuck at the bottom of the stove as I was trying to turn, or my barefoot got stuck to the floor. After I broke my wrist after a fall while using a cane and my shoe caught on the carpet while on a getaway, I finally did “give in”, and it does make it easier to walk and I feel more secure.

  • MaryConnolly

    November 16, 2022 at 7:48 am

    A rollator is very helpful! Like many of you we have transitioned through a cane, walking sticks, a 3-wheel rollator and a 4-wheel rollator (we have two types). A few months ago we purchased a motorized WHILL chair which I highly recommend for longer treks–it can manage accessible trails and up to a 10degree grade. It also breaks down into 3 primary parts which are easily put together and taken apart. Each of these items has helped to maintain independence and mobility. My pALS is still able to walk, but longer distances can be challenging so a motorized chair was the next logical step to getting out and about. In addition to the fleet of wheeled devices he also has AFOs for both feet, but does not need to wear both all the time. They require more effort to put on. We’ve recently been trying a Neofect velcro wrap-style footdrop brace for a short distance inside the house i.e. to the bathroom or to family room at end of day. It provides support for these short distances and is easier to put on/off than the more rigid AFO. Safety and fall prevention are critically important and one can strike a balance by using multimodal mobility aids. Stay well and keep moving!

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