We have reviewed the best Hemi walkers for seniors. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot. Or you can scroll down for detailed product reviews.
A Hemi-walker (or side-walker) is useful for people who need a folding walker’s support to walk, but cannot hold it with both hands. This is often prescribed to patients who are either fully or partially paralyzed on one side of their body, have one fractured leg or else have a fracture in one of their arms or hands and cannot hold a walker using both arms.
Typically Hemi walkers are lighter than a full-sized walker, but are self-stabilizing, thus making them a better option than using a cane.
Hemi Walkers for Stroke Patients
One of the most important uses of Hemi walkers is for patients who have had a heart attack or a stroke and are therefore paralyzed on one side of their body. Such patients find it very difficult to get back up to walking, however, what is also true is that the act of walking helps them in recovering the lost ability in their body.
Stroke victims can use the Hemi walker in these simple steps:
- The user opens the devices so that they can stand stably.
- The user can then adjust the height of the Hemi walker to meet their requirements
- The user grips the Hemi walker from their good side and advances it towards their bad side.
- The user then takes a small step on his/her good side, while maintaining balance using the walker.
- Initially, if the user is concerned about falling down, they should do it around other people so that they can support him/her in case of loss of balance
The video below shows how to adjust and use a Hemi walker.
What to Look For in a Hemi Walker
- Weight: A good Hemi-walker must be lightweight since the user has to operate it with only 1 hand. Typically aluminum frames are used to make Hemi walkers.
- Portability: A Hemi walker must be easily foldable so that it can be used by 1 hand and carried around easily when not in use.
- Customizable: Hemi walkers must be customizable as per the user’s height, as otherwise, the user might have to crouch down to use them, which can cause problems in the user’s back shoulders.
- Comfort: The Hemi walker handles should have comfortable grips with contoured or textured surfaces so that the user’s hands do not slip off it easily.
- Stability: The legs of the walker need to be touching the surface to create a flat and stable support for the user. The bottom of the legs should be covered with an anti-slip rubber coating so that the walker does not slip on smooth surfaces
- Weight Capacity: Make sure that the maximum weight capacity of the Hemi walker that you are purchasing is in line with the weight of the patient. Most Hemi walkers have a weight capacity between 250 to 350 pounds. Bariatric patients may need specialized walkers that have a higher weight capacity.
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Hemi Walkers versus Other Mobility Aids
Hemi walkers are one of the devices from among a large family of mobility aids which includes canes, walkers, and rollators. Below we discuss which situations are more amenable to using a Hemi walker as compared to other devices
Hemi Walkers as Compared to Quad Canes
Both Hemi walkers and quad canes are used by people who need help in balancing themselves, and both can be operated by one hand. The key difference, however, is that quad canes are only good if you are having light balance issues, perhaps due to pain in one leg or arm.
They cannot serve the purpose if you are paralyzed from one side or had a stroke recently.
Hemi Walkers Compared to Rollator Walkers
Rollator walkers used when the patient is able to walk a bit themselves, but needs help with light support and balance issues, and doesn’t have the strength to lift a walker (or does not need as much support as a walker provides).
Rollators also have several other features – they have wheels to move the user, a seat for if the patient wants to sit down, and baskets and bags for carrying things.
Hemi walkers are used when the user is able to support themselves on one side of the body, but cannot walk without support. Hemi walkers are useful mostly for stroke patients or those who have been injured on one side of the body.
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Hemi Walkers as Compared to Normal Walkers
- Hemi walkers are smaller in size and more portable
- They are quite inexpensive compared to normal walkers
- Hemi walkers have two hand grips, one for a sitting position and the other for a standing position
- Hemi walkers are held on one side of the body, whereas normal walkers are held with both hands and stabilize both sides of the body.
Best Hemi Walkers
#1 Drive Medical Side Style Hemi Walker
The drive medical is one of the most popular choices of Hemi walkers. It is lightweight, durable and has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds. The height of the walker is adjustable between 29.5 and 37 inches, which is a comfortable range for most people. The walker can fold easily with one hand.
- Customizable height range between 29.5 and 37 inches
- Folds easily with one hand
- Lightweight, made of aluminium
- At the maximum height possible, the walker can be a bit unstable
- A few customers complained that the walker bent easily and was not durable
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#2 Days Hemi Walker
The Days Hemi walker is another popular product amongst Hemi walkers. It has a lightweight frame, height adjustability between 29.5 inches to 34.5 inches, can support weights of up to 300 pounds and is easy to fold and carry around.
The walker has comfortable hand grips, rubber padding at the bottom of the legs for a stronger grip and is non-latex.
Height adjustable between 29.5 and 34.5 inches
Comfortable grips, rubber feet
Lightweight, easy to fold and carry around
The height adjustment range is slightly less for people who are too short
#3 Carex Folding Hemi Walker
The Carex folding Hemi walker is another great choice in this category. With a height range between 30 and 35 inches, a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds, this Hemi walker is perfect for stroke victims.
Height adjustment can be done with the simple push of a button. The walker folds flat which makes it very easy to store. There are comfortable, non-slip grips on the armbars in the walker and there are rubber capping at the bottom of the legs for reducing chances of slipping
- Easy to store (single hand folding)
- Height adjustability between 30 and 35 inches
- Non-slip coverage on handlebars.
- The walker is not suitable for people who have a height above 6.2 feet.
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#4 PCP Side Style Hemi
The PCP side style Hemi walker is more useful for taller individuals. The height of the walker is adjustable between 33 to 37 inches, which makes it amongst the tallest walkers in this list. The product has angled legs for a wide base and black, foam hand grips for easily holding on to the walker, and weighs only 3.9 pounds overall.
- Height adjustment between 33 to 37 inches, one of the tallest in this list
- Foam hand grips for safety
- Rubber tipped legs for stability
- Difficult to open with one hand
#5 Invacare Hemi Walker
The Invacare Hemi walker is again a very good product. It has a wide base for added stability and is lightweight and easy to move around.
The Hemi walker is compact in size and can be folded easily for transportation. It comes as-is and does not require any assembly on unpacking. The walker is made from aluminium tubing for durability.
The walker also has two level hand grips that are slip-resistant and easy to hold on to. There are rubber tips at the bottom of the legs for better grip on slippery surfaces
- Durable, lightweight, easy to fold
- No assembly needed
- Slip-resistant handgrips and rubber-tipped legs for safety
- Low maximum weight capacity (up to 250 pounds)
- Height adjustability only between 29.5 inches to 34.5 inches.
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Hemi Walkers are an absolute lifesaver for stroke victims and people who have otherwise been injured or incapacitated on one side of their bodies. They provide balance, are much more stable than canes, and help the healing process by encouraging the patient to walk using his/her own strength.
We have discussed 5 of the best Hemi walkers available in the market in this article, based on our internal ranking and the parameters that we have set out for them earlier in the article.
If interested we also wrote an article on rollator walker for a tall person.
While any of these products can be a good choice, do not forget to consult with your doctor/medical practitioner so as to get the best advice on dealing with your particular situation. Each individual is unique and therefore the best solution in such devices has to be customized after careful examination.