A rollator is a type of wheeled walker with brakes that is designed to support upper-body weight and help people with walking challenges enjoy greater mobility and avoid fatigue. Unlike traditional medical walkers that need to be lifted with each step, rollators glide easily across smooth indoor and outdoor surfaces, and can be customized with options for added convenience.
If you are considering a purchase, talk with your healthcare provider about models and components that best accommodate your size, needs and lifestyle. In addition, ask about other types of walking aids that may meet your requirements – currently or in the future.
Here are considerations for rollator selection:
You will find frames built with either steel or aluminum. Steel is a stronger, heavier material than aluminum and is designed to support greater body weight. Though, aluminum frames are lighter and more easily pushed for those weighing under 200 pounds.
Number and Size of Wheels
Models come in three- and four-wheeled designs. Three-wheeled models are more maneuverable around corners and tight spaces. Models with four wheels are more stable and easier to push.
Wheel size is another consideration. If you are planning to spend a lot of time outdoors and on uneven surfaces, choose a model with larger wheels. Small wheels are designed for indoor purposes on flat surfaces.
Choose a model that allows you to adjust the handles to an appropriate height for your size. Some designs allow a greater range of adjustment than others so be sure to take a "test drive" before purchasing to ensure comfort and proper fit.
Your brakes need to be easy to reach and appropriately responsive for safety. Pressure brakes are easy to use for many individuals because when someone exerts weight or leans on the frame, the brakes engage and stop forward movement.
For pressure brakes, the weight of the user is a consideration because a petite individual may not be able to apply enough pressure on the frame for the brakes to respond and a heavier person may cause the brakes to engage too often.
Cable brakes, similar to those found on bicycles, are another option. The user squeezes the breaks with both hands and the wheels instantly stop.
There are also one-handed cable brake systems. Reverse braking is another option where the rollator's brakes are locked at all times unless they are manually released by squeezing the brake handles.
In addition to a range of stylish designs and colors, you can outfit your wheeled walker with a host of accessories including a built-in seat, seat back, cup holder, baskets, hanging tote bags, cane holder, oxygen tank holder and other features.
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