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My father is 89 and has post-polio syndrome. He had polio in his 20s, recovered well and led an active adult life (tennis and skiing) but since his 60s, he's been getting weaker and weaker. His legs are very weak now and he's falling down more and more. He lives in an independent living retirement home in 2-bedroom apartment with my mother. He uses a walker which is sort of a combo as it has a seat he can sit in once he uses it to as a walker to get somewhere but he still tries to walk and he has little strength. And what he has is not a self-propel wheel chair, it's more walker than wheel chair.... I wonder what you'd recommend in terms of transitioning him to something that was self-propelling but had the option of being used as a walker... Also, what kind of person could help him make this transition.. An occupational therapist? They live in a small city of 24,000 that has limited resources.. Appreciate any thoughts you have.

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I would ask for an OT and PT evaluation, both covered by Medicare and see what the professionals suggest.
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We purchased a light weight wheelchair to get my mom 120 lbs to and from doctors appts. No problem, easy to push, manuever, get in and out of car. However the front wheels are small and the person in chair must be pushed. Yeas later needed to transport, dad, 250 lbs after back surgery. This chair was now not easy to push. He had inpatient physical therapy and was give a much bigger, heavier chair with large side wheels he could move himself. This chair is very easy to push but really hard for me to lift in and out of car. If you were to get the bigger chair for your dad and it would be used mostly in the assisted living facility i would suggest that is the way to go. The assissted living facilities I have been in all have wide doorways and elevators. We now leave ours at the kitchen table and dad has more access to the different areas of kitchen. I just received a new one from the VA which I am going to leave in our sunroom for dad and he then can get himself out on the deck and down a ramp. I would not let him do this with the smaller one, afraid it would tip over.
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My mom also has post polio and used a Rollator for years. As her "good" leg weakened, the PT at the NH moved her to one of those aluminum walkers for PT. They said that the Rollators move too fast for people with really weak legs. This indeed happened a few months ago when my mom borrowed a Rollator, it scooted from her and she fell.
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Carol is your mother able to help by pushing him? I understand your concerns with him falling but it is never a good idea for someone to give up whatever mobility he still has. In a wheel chair he will soon loose whatever strength he has left and need help using the toilet and getting in and out of bed. Is this kind of help readily available 24/7 where they are living?
All that being said there are said electric wheel chairs or as suggested above something like a "Hoverround" medicare may or may not aprove this and private pay will be between $1-2 thousand. Another option maybe for him to be fitted with metal leg callipers that will support his legs and stop him buckling at the knees.
You should discuss this with the Dr who can refer him to an occupational therapist who will find the most helpful solution for his situation
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It sounds as though he has a Rollator, that's a brand name, but is very popular among the older set because of the seat that not only gives them a chance to sit and rest but they can carry stuff on the seat while walking.

A wheelchair is quite a bit larger than the walker. Is the retirement home set up for usage with a wheelchair? I mean the furniture arrangements and stuff. I've no doubt the doors are wide enough. Could he use the walker inside the apartment and then have a chair for use outside, for instance going to meals? A lot of people find that they don't have the arm strength to propel themselves in a chair, but they can put their feet on the floor and sort of walk/roll. It's work and they don't get very far very fast. I'm not sure I totally understand what you are asking about as far as being self propelled and yet being a walker. By definition, a walker is self propelled, so I must be misunderstanding.

All that being said, I'm thinking he might benefit from a powered scooter, such as a Hoveround. They also have power wheelchairs. I think that his doctor should be consulted about your concerns.
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