Using Your Walker or Rollator
Who might benefit from using a walker or rollator?
Walkers and rollators are designed to help people walk and move about. They can be beneficial if you get tired easily and need extra assistance. They can assist people to move around following surgery and are a helpful tool for people experiencing a health condition like arthritis.
What’s the difference between a walker and a rollator?
- A walker has four legs that need to be lifted to move forward. They provide stability and are helpful to people who experience a lack of balance.
- A rollator has four wheels and brakes. They are easier to manoeuvre and often provide a place to sit down, as well as options for storing items such as oxygen tanks and other necessities.
What types of walkers and rollators are available?
This lightweight walker does not have any wheels. It has 4 stoppers (or ferrules). As it doesn’t have wheels, this walker is most suited to indoor use.
This walker has two small wheels at the front and stoppers or glides at the back. It is usually height adjustable to suit user requirements and is lightweight. This walker is most suitable for indoor use.
A walker with forearm rests can aid those who have difficulty walking. They are ideal for users with limited hand and wrist strength. This walker is most suitable for indoor use.
This is a compact option, which makes it easy to use in more confined spaces. These walkers generally come with a bag or basket and are suitable for indoor or outdoor use.
This is a rollator for outdoor use. The seat allows you to take a break when walking, helping to manage fatigue. When choosing this type of rollator, you should consider the handle height when you stand as well as the height of the seat so that you can sit comfortably. If castor (wheel) size options are available, smaller castors are better suited for indoor use, while larger castors are suited for outdoor use.
How do I know what walker or rollator is right for me?
- Professional Advice – It is always a good idea to speak to your healthcare professional to help you decide what product is right for you and how much support you need.
Environment – Consider where you intend
to use your walker or rollator. Smaller wheels perform
better inside, with larger wheels better suited for
outdoor use. Whether the products will fit through
doors, corridors and smaller environments are all important factors to consider.
- Safety – Can you safely use the walker or rollator? Consider your needs such as balance, brakes, seating and weight. If you experience trouble with your balance, wheels may not suit you. If a rollator has brakes, you must be able to put them on and take them off. Alternative brake mechanisms, such as pushdown breaks, may be beneficial.
- Transport & Storage – Consider whether you need to fit your walker into the boot of a car. Or, do you need to store your walker when not in use? Will it fold to allow you to do this?
I’ve chosen my walker or rollator, how do I ensure it’s the right fit?
- User Weight – You should always ensure that you stay within the recommended weight limits of the walker or rollator.
- Handle Height – Stand with your arms relaxed at your side, wearing your regular walking shoes. Adjust the handle height so that the top of the handle is in line with the crease of your wrist.
- Seat Height – If your walker or rollator has a seat, ensure that you can sit on it comfortably. You should be able to get on and off it easily and when sitting on it, your feet should be flat on the ground.
How do I use my walker or rollator?
This will vary slightly, depending on the type of product you have chosen. It is always a good idea to ask your healthcare professional to show you how to safely use your new walker and get the most out of it.
Some Tips …
When standing up, always push off from the chair – don’t pull on the walker to help.
Stay upright and keep the walker close to you.
If your walker has brakes, always use them when sitting down or standing up.
Liaise with your healthcare professional to safely learn how to use your walker.