Walkers and rollators are among the most common devices used to preserve mobility. The best mobility aid for you depends in part on whether you have better upper or lower body strength. Rollators offer stability and can be slowed with a hand brake, meaning you need grip strength and lower body stamina. Walkers for elderly people move forward at your pace; you can be a slow walker yourself, but you will be safer if you have some upper body strength to maneuver it. Cost is also a concern though there are dozens of models of both walkers and rollators so that you’re sure to find a design you can afford.
A walker is basically a lightweight aluminum frame with four legs. The most common style has wheels on the front legs for smooth, easy movement and glide caps on the rear ones for stability. Most walkers fold easily so that they can be stored out of the way. Stylish designs and colors give today’s walkers less of a medical device look. The Metro Travel Walker for instance comes in shades of deep brown, rose and amber.
Specialty walkers are made for specific mobility needs. For instance, a hemi walker is designed for people with limited or no dexterity in one arm or hand and is easy to lift and maneuver with one hand.
A knee walker like the Universal Knee Walker by Drive Medical provides an alternative to crutches and is made for people who are recovering from foot surgery, breaks, sprains, amputations and ulcers of the foot.
A rollator or rollator walker looks just like a walker with a wheel at the end of each of its four legs. Having a 4-wheel rollators means faster movement—and you need to be able to successfully use the hand breaks to control speed. This style of rollator offers stability and, often, a seat for resting. The 3-wheel rollator may maneuver more easily, but traditionally doesn’t have the built-in seat design.
If you’re very mobile and are outdoors a lot, be sure to choose a wheel size meant for inside and outside use over a mix of surfaces.
How To Measure
Both walkers and rollators should offer adjustable height so that you can maneuver with good posture and not have to snoop over. To find the best floor-to-handle height measurement for you, stand straight with your arms at your sides and have someone measure the distance from your wrist to the ground. The device should also be able to safely support your weight; choose a bariatric design if you need a greater weight capacity.