Everyday Gear

Inexpensive Aids

walker.jpgWhile picking up some things for my dad, I checked out Wal-Mart’s assistive devices section. At our local store, the selection is small, but notable. There’s a basic array of standard canes — all metal, and all under $20.00 (USD), including a common collapsible one. Next to an assortment of cane tips I saw ski-type nylon walker sliders for a walker at around $6.00 (USD) — or about 1/5 the price I’ve seen at medical supply houses.

This particular store didn’t have many grooming aids, but I saw a set for $20.00 that included a long-handled comb, a body scrubber (kind of a loofah-on-a-long-handle), and a multi-use gripper that is apparently meant to hold smaller items like emery boards.

The biggest surprise, though, was collapsible crutches, at about $33.00 for the set. I’ve written about high-end travel crutches before. Wal-Mart’s version is clearly nowhere near the quality of those made by Thomas Fetterman, but for short-term or light-duty use, Walmart’s might be a great, affordable, choice.

For the last year or so, this store’s been stocking the Hugo Rolling Walker (upper left), an inexpensive, multifunction walker-with-seat. For those who are footing the bill themselves, it might be worth a look, at not much over $100.00 (USD).

I’m not necessarily a Wal-Mart fan, but I admit to having a huge prejudice against medical supply companies and their inflated-prices-for-disability-aids. If you’ve got a need that can be filled for 50% to 80% less than prices charged through medical specialty stores, that might be reason enough to check out your local Wal-Mart. Employee relations aside — that’s a debate for another day — it’s almost certain the goods are made in the same country, under the same circumstances, no matter where they’re sold.