Mobility issues are a concern for people as they age as well as those with certain medical conditions. Often, those who have trouble walking feel left out of activities because they’re not able to get around comfortably or safely. Many people with mobility issues turn to a rollator for assistance getting around, particularly outdoors. This helps them participate in events and activities more safely. Before purchasing a rollator for yourself or a loved one, there are a few things consider ensuring you get the best one for your needs.
What is a Rollator?
Simply put, a rollator is a heavy-duty walker with wheels. Rollators also comes with additional accessories such as a seat or brakes, even a shopping basket! They’re strong and durable as well as being easy to manoeuvre in small spaces. Typically, rollators are intended for outdoor use and are far more robust than traditional walkers. Rollators are available in adult, pediatric, and bariatric versions.
Things to Consider for Safety Before Buying a Rollator
For anyone with mobility concerns, safety is paramount. Keeping several safety factors in mind when purchasing a rollator helps ensure that the one you buy is best suited to keep you safe.
1. Brakes. Brakes should be easy to grip and easy to apply. If you live in a cold climate, can you still apply the brakes wearing gloves or mittens? Many people who use a rollator also find it comfortable to lean against the device to rest. If that sounds like something you’d like to do, be sure there’s a parking brake or locking hand brakes to keep the rollator still.
2. Handles. Handles need to be easy to grip and the right size for your hands. Also, check the height. You want to be standing comfortably, not bending or reaching to grasp the handles.
3. Seat. Of course, the seat should be comfortable. In addition, it needs to be strong and appropriately sized for your body. Depending on your own stability level, you may want to find a rollator seat that also has a backrest as it provides additional support.
Other Things to Consider Before Buying a Rollator
Think about how you’ll be using your rollator. Your personal preferences and the places you’ll be using the rollator may mean you need to check for additional functional requirements prior to making your purchase.
1. Ergonomics. While most people are familiar with this term as it relates to typing or lifting, it also applies how you stand or sit in your rollator. Check to see if the seat and handles move up and down to get you the proper fit. Also, ensure that you have enough room to step without hitting the wheels or frame of the rollator.
2. Comfort. If you’re not comfortable, you probably won’t use it, so see how it feels to sit and stand for more than a few seconds.
3. Storage. If you’re going to be traveling with your rollator, this may be of particular concern. How easily does it fold and unfold? Does the folded size fit nicely into your vehicle or another storage area?
4. Accessories. Think about what you might want to carry with you. Most of the time, you can get accessories from your rollator that make it easier. Options include trays, baskets, under-seat bags, a holder for a cane, water bottle, or umbrella, or even a lamp!
5. Other special features. Will you be navigating rough terrain or sidewalk curbs regularly? A rollator with curb-climbing features may be necessary. Or if you’re grip strength is somewhat weak due to arthritis or other illness, you’ll want to look for handles that have special handles that increase grip and stability.
6. Wheel count. You can get 3 wheels or 4. Three wheel options are usually easier to fold and store, however, they don’t usually come with seats and cannot be used on channel ramps.
7. Strength. Ensure that the maximum user weight is enough to support you. Bariatric rollators also come with reinforced frames and wider seats for additional security.
Buying and using a rollator is a great way to add mobility and safety to your life. By taking these things into consideration before you purchase one, you ensure that you get the rollator that best suits your needs and lifestyle.