Exploring Challenges in Walking Frame Use Among the Elderly: A Study in Klang Valley, Malaysia

Mohd Rizal Hussain, Rahimah Ibrahim, Irwan Syah Md. Yusuff, Mazatulfazura SF Salim
Malaysian Research Institute on Ageing, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Faculty of Human Ecology, University Putra Malaysia
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia

DOI: https://doi.org/10.60016/majcafe.v32.11


Abstract

The elderly utilize a walking frame to address deficiencies in balance, coordination, strength, and the risk of falling during walking. Despite previous research highlighting the advantages and benefits of walking frame use for this demographic, some individuals have encountered various issues concerning its use. Thus, this study aims to explore issues of walking frame use among the elderly in Klang Valley, Malaysia. A total of 30 participants of community-dwelling elderly aged 60 and above in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur who are current and former walking frame users and were selected via purposive sampling, were involved in this study. This study utilized the qualitative approach using semi-structured questions. Interview data in the form of verbatim transcripts were analyzed thematically. The majority of respondents were female with a mean age of 71.7 years old, (SD=8.06), Malay, married, primary education level, retirees, living with a spouse and children and staying in Selangor. On the health aspect, the majority of them had hypertension and Body Mass Index (BMI) was pre-obese (25.0 – 29.9 kg/m2). In terms of walking frame usage, most respondents used a standard walking frame (without wheels), used a walking frame for 1 year or less, purchased it by themselves or through family members, indoor usage and reason for use because of leg weakness due to injury. Thematic analysis results show that there were several issues identified such as the respondents’ physical and psychological condition, as well as walking frame issues on quality, design, use and cost. Furthermore, issues concerning the physical environment of the home were reported. It is hoped that these findings can serve as a reference for relevant parties to further explore aspects related to the use, product development, and management of physical environments concerning walking frames.

Keywords:  community-dwelling, elderly, Malaysia, qualitative, walking frame