Depending on who you talk to, they’ll tell you that walkers and rollators are one in the same. Those who say that would not be correct, as the two devices are quite different. Yes, they do help people with mobility issues, but they do so in different ways.
What Is A Walker
Your basic walker is a lightweight device that is made with a three sided aluminum frame. The feet of these walkers have rubber tips on them, which some people will cover the back set of feet with tennis balls so they glide easier.
You can find two wheeled walkers, which is best suited for someone who doesn’t need as much support, but they don’t have the balance or stability to use a rollator.
The person using the walker is going to have to use their arms to lift the walker up and move it forward with every step they take. Both walkers can be adjusted to accommodate the user’s height, so they can use the walker comfortably.
What Is A Rollator
A rollator is a device that has either three or four wheels and a brake system. These devices do not require the user to lift them up in order to walk, making it the best choice for people who do not have much arm strength. The rollator is preferred among users who doesn’t need a lot of support while walking.
Since these devices have wheels, you can get around easily and quickly, which may be something to consider if you’re choosing between the two. These units can also come with accessories like a padded seat, baskets, clips, and hooks.
What Is The Difference
As you can gather, the rollator is basically a supped up rolling walker. However, let’s break down the real differences:
We know that most people will choose a device that looks good. When it comes to choosing between these two, people are hesitant to choose the walker because it looks like it came straight from a hospital or nursing facility.
Often, the walker is called a “medical walker” because it is plain looking and you’ll usually find them in a healthcare setting.
Most people refuse to use a walker with a seat because it only adds to the “medical” appearance. It is because of this reluctance that you rarely find walkers with a seat, and if you do, the seat can usually be flipped up so that the person using the walker can step inside and use it that way.
With a rollator, the seat is not an option. It is always included with these devices, as long as it is the four wheeled rollator. The seat on these units are going to be padded, which will make it more comfortable for the user to sit, catch their breath, or relax mid-morning walk.
Typically, you’ll also find a basket under the seat for storage, which is always a nice feature to have.
Typically, the average walker is not going to have wheels. There are some models that will have a wheel on the front, but that’s about it.
Because it will still have stationary legs in the back, the user will have to manually lift the back part of the walker when they want to move forward. Some people will put tennis balls or pads on the bottom so they glide easily on flooring.
A rollator is going to have three or four wheels. These wheels will swivel in all directions, making them great for easy maneuvering. These devices are going be made of a thicker, much more sturdy material because you’ll be able to sit on the padded cushion.
Also, because this unit does have wheels and you can go faster, it also features a brake system that you can engage to slow down the walker.
How Do I Choose Which Is Best For Me
Deciding which type of walking aid is going to benefit you the most isn’t something that you should take lightly. Depending on your needs, you may need one over the other. Here’s what to ask yourself before making your purchase:
- Am I strong enough to support myself?
- Do I need to navigate tight spaces around my home?
- Do I need a mobility aid for inside and outdoors?
- How far can I walk without getting fatigued?
- Do I need something that is lightweight and can fold up?
Depending on your answers, you’ll find a rollator is more beneficial than a walker. For example, if you are someone who can walk, but gets tired easily, you’ll want a rollator. If you need to be able to navigate narrow spaces around the home, a walker may be better suited.
Choosing the best walker for yourself or your loved one will have lasting effects on how well they are able to get around. Feelings of being stuck inside and needing to rely on caregivers to help you get around can get you feeling pretty down and out.
However, when a walking aid is used, you can reclaim some of the independence you may have lost. You’ll be able to go on those morning walks when you’d like. You’ll be able to go outside and check the mail! Heck, you’ll be able to go from one room to the next without needing someone’s arm to help.
Now we aren’t suggesting that a walker or a rollator is going to change your life, but… It will change how you get around for the best. Trying to decide which walking aid is going to work out for you can be challenging, but with the help of your doctor, you are one step closer to making the decision and living the independent life you enjoy.