The best walker for those with PSP - PSP Association

PSP Association

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The best walker for those with PSP

grafixapn
grafixapn

Most walker require the user to grip on the levers in order to apply the brakes. Those with PSP and other neurological disorders require a walker that works the opposite way. There is a walker by the name "U Step 2 Walker" that is always in brake mode until either lever is squeezed. Most insurance company's will fight you to have them pay for it. I have put up a website that covers a number of things relating to PSP. On my site supportpsp.com there is a page detailing how to get insurance companies to pay for this better walker. This U Step 2 Walker also is bottom heavy and helps in reventing falls. My website never asks for money, and I don't accept advertising. I'm just a caregiver for my wife, and I'm trying to get good information out there.

13 Replies
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Hi grafix

It looks like a superb walker.

It appears to be the only one which goes some way toward tackling backward falling.

Thanks

grafixapn
grafixapn in reply to Kevin_1

The biggest problem is re-training the user not to push it. The walker has 5 wheeles, and can turn on a dime. I keep telling my wife to keep her arms close to her sides, look up and just walk. For those with PSP, getting them to no longer push the walker it turns isn't as easy as one might think.

Thanks Grafixapn -I have not seen anyone using this walker - I am always looking at walkers whenever I see someone with one. Hope to see someone using this one soon. Sending Hugs - Granni B

grafixapn
grafixapn in reply to Motts

Many physical therapy places have the ability to request a walker for demonstration purposes. I know for a fact that the company who makes the U Step 2 Walker does this.

Motts
Motts in reply to grafixapn

Thanks grafixapn - That is good to know. I don't know how old your wife is - I am 70 and it is getting harder for me remember instructions. I now use a cane and I have a simple old walker (I used to use it for balance when exercising with the WII game and it was great for that) but now that I need a walker it does not work for me. I am thinking maybe I should skip the walker and move towards a wheel chair. I am so tired of falling . . . Sending Hugs to YOU and your wife - Granni B

grafixapn
grafixapn in reply to Motts

My wife. Is 67, but since taking Tasigna, things have slowed down. Since she got the U Step 2 Walker, falls have stopped. Yes you are correct, those with PSP have issues following instructions. The larger issue is keeping you safe. As part of the U Step 2 Walker is what is referred as the U area. If the user remains within this area, falling is close to being impossible. With the walker always in brake mode, the fear of the walker getting away from you goes away. A standard walker cost the Insurance company about $15 to $20.The U Step retails for $575. I would guess tha cost to the insurance company might be over $100. For this reason the insurance company will play games. On my website I cover how to get the insurance company to pay for the U Step 2Walker. Goto: supportpsp.com and find the page about the walker. I hope this helps.

Andy

Motts
Motts in reply to grafixapn

Hi Andy - I am back again with another question . . . Will this walker work on grass? Granni B

grafixapn
grafixapn in reply to Motts

As I'm sure you know walkers aren't designed to be used on grass. With that said, my wife did use it on grass, but it wasn't very tall. She went about 20 feet to a bench. My concern would be if there are any rocks in the grass. The walker has 3 wheels in the front that are about 3" in size. The 2 rear wheeles are about 5". I employ a caregiver to help me. When my wife took the walker into the grass, I controlled the front of the walker, and the caregiver held on to the gait belt my wife always wears.

Motts
Motts in reply to grafixapn

Thanks Andy - Yes I did know but I was also hoping. We live in the country with lots of grass and a gravel driveway. I have been here almost 40 years and I love my little log home but we may have to relocate. Or put a concrete pad for the car close to the house . . . something to think about and talk over with my hubby. Thanks again Andy... sending HUGS to you and your wife - Granni B

Motts
Motts in reply to grafixapn

Good Morning Andy - I just want to let you know I finally decided on my walker and I am very happy with it most of the time. I am still learning . . . thanks for all your suggestions. Sending Hugs - Granni B

grafixapn
grafixapn in reply to Motts

The problem that my wife has, is that she doesn't always stay within what is called the U area. On the U-Step 2 Walker, there are two 1/2" strips of tape on both sides of the rear bars of the walker. (they also will glow if exposed to sunlight and you come into a darker area) The idea is for the user to stay within, as best they can, in this area. My wife had a standard walker where it felt like one needed to push the walker in order to make it move. The U-Step 2 Walker has 5 wheels (plus 2 safety wheels if one have to go up onto a curb), which means it can turn on in a small area, and if the user holds their arms to their sides and simply look up and walks, the walker will respond without any problems. Having started with a standard walker, my wife wants to extend her arms, which means there is no way she will be in the safety of U area zone, where falling is minimized. Yes, the walker can't prevent someone from falling backwards, but because the walker is always in brake mode, as long as one holds on to the walker, they are totally safe. With a standard walker, when one with PSP runs into a problem, they are unable to think about applying the brakes. In this situation, the walker gets away from the user, and a fall is the result.

Something you may want to try is taking a few rubber bands and making a type of strap to put behind yourself, to help keep you keep in the U zone. It seemed to help my wife, but she doesn't want to use it when other people are around. After being married for 30 years, I know when not to push an issue.

It has been a few months now that my wife has had the U-Step 2 Walker, and for the most part she is doing better staying in the U zone. I can report not a single fall. As by wife put it, she "feels safe now,"

While on the topic of the U-Step 2 Walker, there is an adjustment that I would like to suggest. On both of the main back wheels, there is a tension setting. It goes from 1 to 5; and is set to 1 at the factory. By adding a slight amount of tension to the wheels, it seems to help my wife from pushing the walker. To make the adjustment requires only a flat-head screwdriver. When you loosen the screw there is a lever that can now be moved. The manufacture suggested that I first set the tension to 5. This will be too much, but the idea was for my wife to feel the difference. If one looks closely when moving the lever they will see that when the lever is moved, it also moves an indicator in a hole in the metal bar. The indicator shows you what the tension is set for. It may sound like something hard to do, but I can assure you that it's very easy to make the adjustment. My wife felt that the setting of number 3 worked best for her. I can't tell you what tension setting you will like, but if you are using the walker as it came from the factory, I'm sure you will like the feel a bit of tension added to the wheels. The good news is the tension can always be changes at any time.

I hope you enjoy your new toy. The truth is it's not a toy and your new walker will help keep you safer. Thank you for trusting me, and taking my suggestion to get a U-Step 2 Walker. I offer a number of suggestions on my website: supportpsp.com There is never a cost for anything I say or do. I'm just a caregiver who has a wife he loves, and now she has PSP. I have made it my mission to provide information to others so that they can learn from my mistakes.

Andy

Hi, the U Step walker was recommended by our neurologist and I asked the insurance company if it was covered. Apparently it is, so I asked our GP to write a prescription and he ordered it from a health care company. It’s now scheduled to be delivered next week. This is what the neurologist said when I asked him about different walkers

*****

They both have their advantages and disadvantages. A U step walker doesn't prevent backwards falls but it's the standard for some of the problems that patients have with general instability, freezing, or taking the rapid, short, speeding up steps. A Lifeglider could possibly prevent backward falls because you're strapped in but some people find it restrictive. Actually the best way to evaluate is with a physical therapist who is experienced in these conditions - they can match you with a walker and also fit you to a walker.

*****

Hope this helps and I will post our opinion once we get the walker and start using it.

Hugs to all

Caro

grafixapn
grafixapn in reply to Caro2132

I just made a reply to Motts about the U-Step 2 Walker. I suggested a few things that I leaned when I got the U-Step 2 Walker for my wife. I think you will find what I posted helpful if you also get one.

Andy

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