Here’s a story from a much-loved Grandpa, known to Rifton as “Art.” He got hold of a Pacer and used it his way!
85-year-old Art led an active life until he fell and fractured his left hip. A total left hip replacement was recommended, and surgery took place. Concerned that Art get up and moving as soon as possible after surgery to prevent pneumonia and other complications, Art’s doctor prescribed a Pacer gait trainer instead of a traditional wheeled walker. Art could initially use the Arm Prompts and Chest Prompt to take most of his weight. As Art’s weight bearing ability increased, he removed the prompts, and then discovered that the Pacer’s unique Caster features opened up whole new possibilities for his post-op daily walking exercises. Art is convinced that the Pacer sped his recovery.
Starting indoors, Art deliberately set the drag feature on the casters for added resistance, giving him a workout similar to going up an incline. Within ten days, Art was walking along the paved lane outside his home. When Art walked along the road’s edge, his son locked the casters into the non-swivel position. This kept Art’s gait in a straight line, regardless of the slope on the shoulder of the road, and Art didn’t have to worry about steering. For gradual slopes, the drag feature was used to slow the Pacer’s movement, and Art found he could walk easily and comfortably as he went downhill. On the level, Art would take long, striding steps while holding on to the posterior end of the frame’s top bar.
Twelve days post-op, Art was walking a quarter mile using the Pacer, and a week later a full mile. As his strength improved, Art graduated to the use of a cane. Soon Art was walking without any assistive device.
Half a year later, Art was back to his pre-op exercise levels, swimming and climbing a nearby ridge of some 600 feet elevation twice weekly.
Art attributes his recovery in no small part to the Pacer. “With the aid of this versatile yet remarkably simple device, I gained a sense of mobility and independence much more quickly than I ever imagined possible. You can walk so smoothly with the Pacer that you forget you are the source of the locomotive power, it feels almost as though it is motorized!”
Perhaps the best-kept secret of the Pacer is the role it can play in rehabilitative therapy following hip surgery. As Art’s doctor says, “There is a 50% mortality in octogenarians who fracture a hip. Much of that is attributable to pneumonia and blood clots, both of which can be minimized by early mobilization. The Pacer is a wonderful tool for that, demonstrating several advantages over a standard walker.”
Art Wiser has worked for Community Playthings and Rifton since the company began in the late 1940’s, in Macedonia, GA. Art participated extensively in the business office and in production.