Rollators vs Walkers

Published by Steve Hedberg on November 30, 2009 Under home medical

4wheelrollatorWalkers and Canes are actually one of the oldest types of home medical equipment around. These devices provide an inexpensive way of making it safer and easier for a senior to walk. However, over the last few years, more and more seniors have traded their walker for a rollator, due to its improved performance.

How are Walkers Used?

One of the reasons that walkers are so much more popular than canes is that a walker provides support for the entire body. The user is able to use both hands on the walker to provide much more support and stability than a cane would. The walker is placed in front of the senior and they are able to lean their entire body on it for support.

In the end, a walker provides considerably more support than a cane would, but in order to move, the walker must be lifted up and repositioned. It is also possible to slide the walker forward sometimes, however in most cases each step forward requires that the walker be lifted slightly and repositioned.

Why Rollators are Better than Walkers

Rollators are very similar to walkers, except that it has wheels on it. The senior will walk with the rollator in front of them, leaning on it for support, and pushing it forward. Since it is on wheels, the rolling walker does not need to be lifted and repositioned with each step. Instead, as long as the ground is reasonably flat, the user can simply push the rollator forward.

Since rollators are on wheels, having a braking system is essential. Most feature a handbrake for the right and left side of the rolling walker. This way, when the senior is not moving, the handbrakes can be set and the rollator can safely be leaned against or used as support, without any fear that it might move.

Many rollators will also offer a bench-like platform in the middle of the unit. This platform can be used as a seat and is not only very sturdy, but also very comfortable. However, when using the rollator as a seat, it is very important to ensure that the brakes are set.

In addition to using the bench to carry items, such as a food tray, most rollators also come with a basket that is either attached to the front of the rolling walker or under the seat. This metal basket can be used to make it easier to transport items, such as purses.

When not in use, rollators can be folded up, making transporting these devices very easy.

3 Wheeled and 4 Wheeled Rollators

3wheelrollatorRollators come in a number of different styles, mostly differentiated by their weight capacity. However, they can also be classified by the number of wheels they have.

4 Wheeled Rolling Walkers provide the most stability and support. Each leg has a wheel and if you need a heavy duty walker, a 4 wheel rolling walker is the best choice. However, they are a little larger and heavier than 3 wheeled walkers.

3 Wheeled Rolling Walkers are not quite as stable as a four wheel rollator. There are two wheels in the back and one in the front, which makes the 3 wheel rollator more maneuverable. It is also lighter and smaller, but again it will not provide the same stability that a 4 wheeled rolling walker will.

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