A walker and a rollator are both tools that can help a person with mobility issues to move around by his or her own. However, the most significant difference between the two is the wheels. A walker has four legs which keep their contact on the floor as the person moves along. A rollator, on the other hand, has four wheels and brakes, so it may not need to be lifted as the person moves forward.
When the senior member of your family begins to struggle with walking and moving around, a walker or a rollator can help them with their mobility issues. If you are planning to get a walker or a rollator for your senior loved one, follow these tips to guide your decision to start using a mobility aid.
Signs which tell you it’s time to use a walker or rollator
Take time to watch and observe your senior parents or patients, and ask them with the following questions:
- Do you find yourself panting more often whenever you walk?
- Do you need to sit down more often than to walk?
- Have you noticed that you’ve become less steady when you walk?
- Have you fallen or tumbled while walking?
- Did your doctor diagnose that you have arthritis or osteoporosis?
If you get “yes” from one or more from these questions, then it’s time to suggest to them that they should need a walker or a rollator. Some seniors may not accept the fact that they need a walking aid and may reject it. That is why you must assure them that a little assistance from a walking aid will help them to stay mobile and active. Using a walking aid will enable them to move around and go further without getting winded or fatigued.
Guide to buying a walker or rollator
- It is always better to consult your patient’s physical therapist first before buying a walking aid or mobility device. The physical therapist may recommend a walker or a rollator depending on the senior patient’s health and physical condition. They may adjust the walker or rollator and teach the patient how to use it properly and safely. This is valuable especially if the walker or rollator is needed due to injury or illness.
- Not all walkers and rollators can fit through bathroom and bedroom doors. Most four-wheel rollators are bigger than 22” wide, which is the standard width of a bathroom door. It is important to check first the width of the bathroom or bedroom door at your patient’s residence. This will help you determine the right size of a walker or rollator that you’re planning to buy.
- Check the handlebars of a walker or rollator to make sure that they adjust up and down to fit the body of your senior patient.
- Make sure that the walker or rollator can support the weight of the patient’s body.
- Make sure that the product that you plan to purchase has a warranty and parts availability. When the walker or rollator is used more often, some parts like wheels need to be replaced when necessary.
Mobility devices from Kerr Medical
Kerr Medical offers a variety of walking aids and mobility devices for seniors. Choosing the right option depends on several factors. As we suggest again, it is always better to consult your physical therapist first before buying any walking aid or mobility device for your senior loved one or patient.
Walker – a walking aid consisting of a metal frame and four legs. It comes in standard and wide sizes. Most walkers are adjustable to a patient’s height. They are an excellent option when the patient:
- only needs partial support to their body weight;
- requires more stable support than a walking cane provides;
- could move through narrower spaces;
- has the upper body strength, stability and mobility to move the walker, then set it down and move forward.
Hybrid walker – a type of walking aid which combines the appearance and function of a rollator and walker, as it has two wheels on the front and two legs on the back that touch the ground. This configuration means that, when moving around, the patient only needs to partially lift the walker to move forward. A hybrid walker typically doesn’t have seats. This is the best choice when the senior patient:
- wants support while walking, but also wants to move at a faster pace;
- has the upper body strength and stability to remain upright as the walker rolls;
- needs to move around in narrow or limited floor spaces.
Rollator – a walking aid that consists of four wheels, which enable the patient to move without lifting it. Rollators typically have seats and are available in aluminum and steel to support different weights. The type of metal will be of significant concern if the patient will have to lift it occasionally. Rollators make a sensible choice if the patient:
- lacks the upper body strength to lift and place a regular walker;
- has problems with standing and balancing;
- becomes easily tired or fatigued when walking;
- desires to move a lot in an open space or outdoors.
If you need to know more about Kerr Medical’s walking and mobility aids, do not hesitate to contact the Kerr Medical team. Our friendly staff will discuss with you your senior loved one’s or patient’s condition and will recommend a walking/mobility aid that will match their specific needs.