If you’re feeling less than confident when you’re walking, and are possibly considering using a walker to help you, then here’s the low down on what you need to know in order to choose the perfect model for your needs.
There are various walkers on the market and most of them have pro’s and con’s, but all of them have the main objective of helping the user with their stability when standing and walking, particularly when walking outside.
Walking frames are commonly known as ‘Zimmer frames’, but in actual fact ‘Zimmer’ is a brand name. It’s a bit like calling a vacuum cleaner a ‘Hoover’. These frames have 4 legs but no wheels. Instead they have rubber pads at the bottom of each leg. As there are no wheels, the user has to actually lift the frame and place it a step in front of themselves before they move into it. Although the frame itself is pretty lightweight, the user does need reasonable strength in the arms to pick the frame up.
Wheeled Walkers (Rollators)
Rollators or mobility walkers come with either 3 or 4 legs. Whichever type you choose, they have wheels attached to their legs instead of the rubber pads than walking frames have. They also help people to feel more confident with their balance, but they also reduce the effort required in picking up the frame. Because they’re fitted with wheels on their legs, rollators make it easier to move around in a smoother motion.
Four-wheeled rollators are more popular than 3 wheeled versions and are more stable, but some people find the 3 wheeled models easier to turn.
These types of walkers are generally bulkier than other types of walking aids, but their large, air-filled tyres allow for a more fluent walking movement and help people cope better on uneven surfaces.
They’re actually easier to manoeuvre than the 2 wheeled versions that are on the market also.
Although rollators can be bulkier than other walkers, they can be folded if they need to be placed in a car or transported somewhere. Having said this, there are actually smaller versions of 3 and 4 wheeled rollators which are designed for indoor use only.
4 wheeled rollators offer the most stability and often have a seat attached for resting when necessary. There is a wide variety of models available, so it’s important that you try some out to select the most suitable one for your requirements.
3 wheeled walkers usually have a bigger shopping bag attached to them to take the strain of carrying groceries etc. Most of them don’t include a seat, but if they do, they’re not usually as comfortable as a 4 wheeled rollator seat. However, they are a good choice for people who want their walker to fold down as small as possible and need easier manoeuvrability.
All rollator walking aids are height adjustable, which is important because stooping to hold onto the frame will not increase your stability and will actually impact on your back muscles.
As rollators use wheels for motion, they have brakes attached so you can control your walking speed. Some come with lever style brakes (a bit like those found on bicycles) and some have press down brakes. It’s important to choose the right type because lever-style brakes can be difficult for people who have pain and stiffness in their fingers. If you’re suffering with arthritis in your hands and fingers, a pushdown brake may be easier to use and more appropriate.
In conclusion, the type and model of the rollator is a matter of personal choice. It’s always a good idea to make a list of what you require from your rollator – stability, ease of movement, a seating area, grocery storage, ability to fold, brake type etc. Once you have clarity in your requirements, try a few models out and you’ll definitely make the right choice!
We are Days Mobility – The Specialist Company for Mobility Aids & Accessories. Established in 1993, Days Mobility is a family run business with over 100 years of collective experience. With over 50,000 satisfied customers, we pride ourselves on our exceptional service. If you’re looking for mobility aids and accessories, then take a look at our website www.daysmobility.co.uk or give us a call on 0800 0260 558 – we’d be happy to help!