Customized walkers go from functional to fashionable

  • By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
  • Monday, December 16, 2013 1:34pm
  • Life

The desire to trick out our ride is something we never outgrow.

It starts with our tricyle.

Then our first bike. First car.

So why not pimp up our assistive mobility ride?

Fashion meets function in walkers, rollators and other wheeled devices.

There are drink holders, cellphone bags, cane clasps, clip-on flashlights, custom bags and furry seat covers with matching faux fur bar covers.

“For Christmas, it seems to be the stocking stuffer,” said Deanna Valento-Stemm, manager of the Norco medical supply store in downtown Everett. “Most people don’t realize all the things that can go with a walker. It makes their commute easier.”

Medical product manufacturers are making items look cool rather than clinical.

Nova, a California company, uses slogans such as “Live beautiful” and “Be a mobility fashionista” in their product catalog.

Nova founder Sue Chen started the company to improve mobility options and change the way people look at the world of walkers, wheelchairs and canes.

Nova walker frames are in hot pink, lavender and shiny finishes. Canes come in metallic colors and in patterns with snowflakes, stars and stripes, and Santa.

No more old tennis balls stuck to the bottom of walker legs. No more balancing drinks on walker seats. It’s even possible, though maybe not advisable, to text while rollating.

Many people personalize their rigs with sports pennants, stickers, ribbons and streamers.

“You can accessorize to match what you’re wearing that day,” said Judith Strand, community relations director at Harbour Pointe Retirement &Assisted Living Community in Mukilteo.

In a crowded “parking lot” it also makes it easier to tell whose rig is whose.

At Everett’s South Pointe retirement community, everybody knows which ride belongs to Elsa Atkins, 81.

A bright pink bike wicker basket on the handlebar totes her snacks and a bike horn warns she is coming around the bend.

“My son-in-law bought this for me,” Atkins said. “He wanted me to have fun.”

She squeezes it on cue during exercise class.

“In the morning we do a sing-along,” said South Pointe activities director Elizabeth Mason. “We say, ‘Elsa, blow your horn,’ and she does the whole thing. She’s got the horn section.”

Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com

Walkers

For more information, go to www.norco-inc and www.novamedicalproducts.com.

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