The relationship between perceived health and walker use has seldom been addressed. Concerns over falls and falls risk are precursors to walker use. We compared the SF-36 scores of 26 women and 14 men, mean age 86.8 +/- 6.0 years based on walker use and faller status. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with age as the covariate, compared groups for the SF-36 constructs and totals score. Significant differences were noted between walker users and nonusers in physical functioning, role limitations due to physical problems, general health, and the total SF-36 score. Pairwise comparisons favored nonusers, while no differences were seen due to faller status. Walker use is associated with lower self-perceptions of physical functioning, role limitations due to physical problems, and general health in assisted-living residents. Faller status is not associated with self-perceived health status. Although walker use aids mobility and lowers the probability of falls, further research is needed to determine if the prescription of assistive devices has a more negative impact on self-perceived health than does falling. This possibility could be explained, in part, by the greater activity levels of those individuals who do not depend on walkers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology