What is a rollator?
A rollator or also known as a rolling walker was designed using the same basic principles of the regular standard walker but was to address specific needs that were not being met by the traditional walker. The biggest complaint from people using the regular walkers was they wanted a seat to sit down when they get tired from walking and need to rest and also regular walkers do not handle as good outdoors or on uneven pavement or gravel. Rollator walkers all come with a seat for resting except the 3 wheel version which is used when patients do not need the seat but still want the bigger wheels for easier rolling outdoors. Rollators were made with this in mind. Rollators or Rolling walkers have wheels that are made to be used outside and on uneven surfaces and can hold higher weight capacities than most standard walkers and come with swivel wheels on the front legs so the person using it doesn’t have to lift the rollator to turn right or left like a standard walker requires. Rollators come in 4 different types. There is the 3 wheel rollators, 4 wheel rollators,heavy duty rollators and the rollator wheelchair combo. Please read the info below so next time someone asks what is a rollator you will be able to answer it like a pro.
What you need to ask or know before buying your rollator or rolling walker:
- How much does the person weigh that is going to be using the rollator? It is very important when looking for a rollator or rolling walker to purchase that you make sure that the weight capacity of the rollator will accommodate your patient’s weight and also a lot of the standard rollators come with 13-15 inch seat widths. The weight capacity of the rollator might say it has a 300lb weight capacity but if they patient is short and weighs over 225lbs more than likely they will not fit on a 13-15 inch width seat. So make sure that the weight capacity and the seat width will work for the size person needing to use the rollator walker. Sometimes the width of the rollator seat might not be an issue but the measurement between the armrests will be an issue so make sure that measurement will be wide enough for the person to seat on the rollator seat comfortably.
- How tall is the person that is going to be using the rollator? The reason the height is so important is for two reasons. The First reason is the seat height on most rollators is between 21-23 inches high which for shorter patients under 5ft 6inches this seat height might be too high for them to have their feet on the floor in a comfortable safe way. The second reason is the handle height adjustments on all rollators adjust up and down to specific heights. You need to make sure by measuring from the floor to the hands with the elbows slightly bent what that measurement is in inches and make sure the handle height of the rollator you are looking at will provide that measurement. This is important because taller people need higher handle heights so they are not slouched or bent over in a position that is not safe or healthy for them.
- How much weight can the caregiver or person using the rollator lift? The reason this is important when looking for your rollator walker or rolling walker is because some rollators weigh between 11-14lbs which is as light as they get and other standard rollators weigh between 16-26lbs which is going to be fairly heavy to some elderly people that cannot lift a lot of weight. Just to put this in perspective the regular standard walker without wheels weighs around 6lbs. Rollators have many advantages but they can be heavy for some patients and if that is the case then you will want to look at the very light models like the freedom rollator by medline which only weighs 11lbs.
- Are you going to be using it indoors or outdoors? Most rollators are made to be used indoors or outdoors but we have learned from the thousands that we have sold that the rollator walkers with the bigger 7.5-8 inch wheels do better outside on pavement , gravel and some grass areas then the rollators with the smaller 5 inch wheels. You can take rollators with the 5-6 inch wheels outside and they will do fine it just provides an easier and smoother experience when pushing the larger wheel rollators outside. The smaller wheel rollators tend to do better inside on tight knit carpet or hardwood floors and will weight a lot less then the larger wheeled rolling walkers.