How to Choose the Right Mobility Aid for Your Loved One

Should you get a walker or a wheelchair? Are wheelchairs better than scooters? When your job is to pick out a mobility aid for a loved one, it can be quite overwhelming. There are plenty of mobility aids to choose from, and you’re likely intent on finding the perfect one for your loved one’s needs. A good mobility aid will help your disabled loved one feel more independent, while the wrong one may be more trouble than it’s worth, isolating them further.

Here’s how to sort through the options and decide on the ideal mobility aid.


If a walker seems like it would be a potential option, you’ll need to decide how mobile your loved one already is. For starters, there are standard walkers, which need to be lifted with each step. They’re primarily used for balance and if the person can’t bear weight on one of their legs or hips. Rollators—walkers with wheels—don’t need to be lifted. They’re suitable for people who need a little help with balance and stamina. Rollators often come with seats attached, so the user can sit down when necessary. However, they might not be a good fit for someone who’s prone to falling, since the wheels can contribute to instability.

When choosing a walker or rollator, make sure you take the person’s height, weight, mobility and balance levels into account. You should also consider whether it folds up and how easy it is to transport when not in use.


A standard wheelchair is often used when someone is temporarily disabled. The wheelchair can be powered by pushing the wheels manually, or by having someone stand behind the chair and push it. They usually come with footrests, which may be capable of being elevated, but otherwise do not offer many customization options.

Wheelchairs are strong and sturdy, so they should be suitable for someone of any height or weight. However, they’re also heavy—most wheelchairs weigh between 40 and 60 pounds, at least. Your loved one will probably not be able to lift and store a wheelchair themselves. However, they do fold up and can be stored easily.


Electric scooters are a good solution for someone with permanent mobility issues. If your loved one can’t stand more than a few minutes at a time, let alone walk, this is a smart choice to keep them as independent as possible.

Scooters are easy to “drive,” usually with controls on the armrest. They often have padded seats and baskets for storage. Some models are designed only for indoor use, so be sure you research whether your model is suitable for your loved one’s needs.

The downside to electric scooters is that they tend to be more expensive, and are large and heavy. They’re not as easy to transport as a walker or a wheelchair.

So, should you get a walker or a wheelchair? Whatever mobility device you choose, Penn York Medical is here to help. Call us today to learn more about our selection.