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Who should and should not use a rollator?

This type of inquiry is very common – do I need a walker or a rollator?  And the answer is not easy, as it depends upon everyone’s unique medical, mobility, and / or aging situation.  The fact remains that both rollators and walkers have varying conditions that assist in determining which type of mobility device is required for each user’s situation.

In analyzing each device, a walker is primary offers two types: a four post model and a two post with two wheel model.  The four post style of walker follows a traditional lifting motion to move the walker forward and then, once the walker is securely placed, the individual then will step forward.  This lift, place and step action is then repeated until the user reaches their desired destination.  Similarly, the two post, two wheeled walker shares a similar approach, but users may have more confidence in their ability to move.  The two wheels allow users push the walker versus lifting and placing.  With the front wheels, the back two posts have the traditional rubber cap on the bottom of the post or “skis” like slides for smoother travel.  As directed by a medical professional, the selection of a walker should be evaluated and discussed based upon an individual’s ability and confidence with mobility.

A rollator, whether 3-wheeled or 4-wheeled models, offer mobility support to users that may have strong balance and the ability to move about but may need to rest periodically.  Standard with a seat, rollators offer a solution to many with medical conditions or basic aging situations the confidence to continue their mobility and maintaining their independence.  A rollator may be needed for temporary mobility constraints, like rehabilitation from an injury or a stroke, but rollators may also be considered as a more permanent mobility solutions to build and maintain confidence in walking.  Typically, rollators are best for those who are able to walk but require support with stability and balance, which may also build confidence and promote a more routine walking pace and gait.

Under the direction of your medical professional or if there is an ongoing insecurity when walking, consideration of a mobility device might be needed to improve the ability to perform everyday tasks both indoors and outdoors.  So, back to the original question about who should and should not use a rollator, there is truly not a clear cut answer.  Mobility challenges should be discussed openly in order to determine which mobility aid is right for the specific situation.

If the decision is made that one should use a rollator, then it is important to evaluate which rollator is right for the situation.  Below are some key features to evaluate when purchasing a rollator:

  • Brakes - Easily accessible brakes should be top of mind, as that offers the best feeling of control.
  • Weight - Traditionally, the thought of the heavier the frame, the more stable the mobility aid. However, the use of lightweight, sturdy metals and modern designs has transformed collators and upright walkers to support many patient’s builds without having to possess a burdensome heavy frame.
  • Material - Aside from the frames themselves, which are commonly made from aluminum or steel, it is important to understand the quality of the materials utilized with handles, seats, backrests, and other accessories that may be available for the rollator or upright walker.
  • Wheels - Depending upon the desired usage, indoors or outdoors or both, wheel design today includes shock absorption, off-road terrain, and gripping abilities to ensure safety and smooth travels.
  • Seating - While rollators promote the ability to move about safely and securely, seating is important. Having the ability to take easily take a rest while in transit enables longer journeys and greater independence.

It is important that you address any mobility concerns with a medical professional. The above information is intended to offer support and resource information but does not replace the direction