Mobility aids are a boon to those with mobility concerns as these products help them regain their independence.
However, it is imperative to decide on investing in the correct mobility aid, one which addresses the user’s specific needs.
Understanding one’s situation, specific needs, educating oneself on choices, and investing in the correct mobility aid.
Against this backdrop, this article, with a focus on rollators as a mobility aid, tries to understand who needs them, their specific features, types, uses, and functions.
What is a rollator?
A rollator also referred to as a wheeled walker, is a walker on wheels comprising a frame with three or four wheels, handlebars, and a built-in padded seat.
It features handbrakes, a backrest as well as a basket/pouch to carry personal things.
Rollators are easier to use than walkers because they need to be pushed around like a cart instead of being lifted and placed with each step.
Who needs a rollator?
A rollator is ideal for someone who can walk but needs a helping hand in maintaining stability and balance. The following conditions necessitate the use of a rollator:
Decreased weight-bearing capacity on one or both the legs: fracture, wound on the feet/lower legs, arthritis, pain in legs due to poor blood circulation, surgery, hip replacement, etc.
Fatigue: due to respiratory conditions, illnesses, diabetes, aging, etc.
Poor balance: neurological conditions, low blood pressure, dizziness, ear disturbances, slow reflexes, etc.
They primarily keep the users active and independent while ensuring their utmost safety.
Features to look for when buying a Rollator
Let us look at some of the salient characteristics of rollators which will help the user pick the one that suits his needs best.
Rollators come in three and four-wheel styles.
A 3-wheel rollator is narrower and therefore easily maneuverable in narrow spaces.
It is also lightweight, making it ideal for users who want to walk faster, foldable but do not have a seat for resting.
A 4-wheel rollator provides a wider and more stable base.
Thus, it is ideal for bariatric users and those with poor balancing.
It also has a retractable padded seat which can be used for resting in between walks.
As mentioned above, only 4-wheel rollators have seat provision.
The seat’s height is an important consideration for the user.
The higher the seat, the easier it is for the user to get on or off it.
Some models have seats whose height can be adjusted.
Most rollators have the standard seat width in the range of 13 to 18 inches.
The shape and material of the seat are other deciding factors.
A contoured and padded seat is more comfortable than a plastic one.
The width of a rollator is important, especially if it is for indoor use.
Three-wheel rollators are narrower and foldable, making them an ideal pick for indoor use.
Most 4-wheel rollators are wider than 22 inches, the standard width of a door.
Most rollators have wheels that are 6 and 8 inches.
The 6-inch wheel rollators are for petite and indoor use, whereas the 8-inch ones are for outdoor use and rough terrain.
This refers to the weight capacity of the rollator as well as its overall weight.
The user’s weight should be within the weight capacity of the rollator.
Even its weight should be manageable, seen particularly from the point of view of portability.
They are constructed to accommodate higher user weights.
Always with 4-wheels, they provide the utmost stability.
The wheels swivel easily to allow smooth turning.
Made of steel or aluminum, bariatric rollators have reinforced frames and welded stress points to handle extra user weight safely and provide durability.
Most models offer height adjustability. Some models also allow width adjustability to have wider space between the handles.
The seats are also wide and well-padded for comfort. Most models offer to lock hand brakes for safety reasons.
They come in collapsible or folding designs, which make transportation easy.
Most rollators offer a toting device, basket or storage under the seat.
Some users prefer a collapsible pouch to the basket.
Unlike baskets, pouches need not be removed while folding the rollator.
Thus, rollators have multiple features that can readily meet individual user needs, available in several styles, sizes, and configurations.
So, picking the right rollator must be a well-informed decision.
Seeking guidance from healthcare professionals can be very handy in this regard.
They can further guide the user on how to use it safely.
Lastly, like any other piece of equipment with moving parts, rollators too require periodic maintenance.
Regular servicing should be done to correct any damage or wear and tear.
This will ensure user safety and prolong the life of the rollator.