More seniors are using walking aids now than they ever have in the past. In fact, almost a quarter of seniors use some type of cane, walker, rollator, etc. on a day to day basis.
But choosing the right one can be difficult.
Many people don't understand the differences between walking aids like rollators and walkers. Because of this, they make common mistakes when choosing one.
That's why we've put together a quick guide to help you avoid those rollator vs walker mistakes.
So keep reading below!
1. They Think Walkers and Rollators Are the Same Thing
Many people mistakingly believe walkers and rollators are the same thing. But while walkers and rollators look somewhat similar, they have a lot of important differences.
Here's a quick look at some of those differences below.
A walker is designed to give support and stability to people who have trouble walking on their own.
Because of this, it doesn't have any wheels. Instead, the user must lift the walker off the ground or push it forward every time they take a step.
A rollator is designed to help people who have trouble balancing on their own when they walk.
But rollators have wheels. This means the users don't have to lift or push the rollator as they walk. The rollator just moves along with them.
2. They Don't Understand the Different Types
There are several different types of walkers and rollators. And they don't come in "one-size-fits-all". Depending on a person's needs, they may need something more than a basic walker or rollator.
Here's a closer look at the most common types.
Types of Walkers
There are three main types of walkers. While the differences between them are small, they can make a big impact on a person's maneuverability.
This is the standard walker. This is the type you might see with tennis balls stuck on the feet to make sliding it across the floor easier.
Unlike traditional walkers, wheeled walkers have two wheels on the front two legs. These wheels give the user easier mobility and help them get over uneven ground, which makes it good for the outdoors.
But the wheels don't make this type of walker the same as a rollator.
The wheels on this type of walker are fixed. Because of this, they don't swivel from side to side, which allows them to give the user more stability.
A folding walker functions and looks like a basic walker. However, you can fold this walker flat for easy transport. This can come in handy when a person has an active lifestyle and is on the go often.
Types of Rollators
Not all rollators have the same amount of wheels. And a different number of wheels can provide different benefits.
These rollators only have three legs, and because of that, they only have three wheels.
Three-wheel rollators are easy to maneuver, and they have the ability to make tight turns. They're a good choice for people who live in a home with narrow hallways or don't have a lot of space.
A four-wheel rollator has four legs and four wheels. The two wheels in the front swivel make turning easier, but the two in the back are fixed.
Many of these rollators also have a seat where the user can sit and rest when they get tired. Some four-wheel rollators also have baskets underneath or in front of the seat.
Heavy Duty Rollator
Heavy duty rollators are made with reinforced steel frames. This allows them to hold more weight. These types of rollators also have wider seats, a wider frame, and larger wheels.
3. They Don't Know Which Better Suits Their Needs
Even if people know the difference between a walker and a rollator, many of them don't know which one suits their needs (or the needs of a loved one) better.
Here's a quick break down of what walkers and rollators are both better at doing.
A Walker Is Better For...
A person should use a walker if they can't bear weight on one or both of their legs—such as a person who just had a hip replacement surgery. With a walker, they can transfer their weight to the walker instead and still get around on their own.
But people who use a walker still need to be pretty mobile. If they have trouble standing or walking, a wheelchair might be a better choice.
Think of a walker as a step below a cane. If a cane no longer offers enough support, a walker might be what you turn to next.
A Rollator Is Better For...
A person should use a rollator if they have trouble balancing, rather than trouble walking. They can use the support of the rollator to stay upright, but the wheels allow them to keep walking at a natural and comfortable pace.
Rollators are also good options for people who tire easily. Because four-wheel rollators have a seat, the user can sit down for a rest when they need one.
Rollator vs Walker: The Common Mistakes People Make When Choosing Between the Two
When it comes to rollator vs walker, many people don't know how to choose the right one for their needs. Because of this, they often make mistakes and end up with something that doesn't support their mobility.
By understanding the differences between rollators and walkers, you can make sure you get the right one for you or your loved one.
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