Once again, we enter the great debate about gait. In other words, whether you should use a walker or a rollator, or both?
Trying to solve the Walker vs Rollator problem can be a difficult task, especially since both of these mobility tools serve pretty much the same purpose, i.e., to get an elderly person in need of support from one place to the other.
Here, we are going to breakdown the differences between a walker and rollator so that you can make a more informed decision when the time comes to choose between these two mobility tools.
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- 1 What is the Essential Difference Between Walker and a Rollator?
- 2 What About Walker/Rollator Combo?
- 3 Who Can Benefit the Most from Walkers?
- 4 Who Can Benefit the Most from Rollators?
What is the Essential Difference Between Walker and a Rollator?
The one major difference between a walker and a rollator is the presence of wheels in the latter.
While a walker usually has four legs and all four of those legs stay in contact with the ground to support the user while walking, the rollator, on the other hand, has four wheels at the end, which the user uses to move about.
Unlike the traditional walker that needs to be lifted off the ground from time to time in order to move forward, the rollator can easily be moved by simply pushing on the rollator gently.
This is also one of the reasons why the rollator is also called a ‘rolling walker on wheels’.
Apart from the rollator having four sturdy wheels and brakes, the wheels are also designed to swivel effortlessly, which makes it easier to walk long distances.
One of the reasons why a rollator is a preferred choice for many seniors is because it allows a person to move quickly and as safely as possible since they are not slowed down by frequently having to lift up the rollator.
But, that’s not the only difference between the traditional walker and the rollator.
Another major difference between the two is that the rollator is designed keeping the comfort of the user in mind.
This is why the rollator is also equipped with a seat for resting on and a basket or bag to hold any personal items.
While the traditional walker is not equipped with a built-in seat, the person can only stand while using the walker.
This is not the case with a rollator, which the user to sit on the built-in seat if they need to take a break while moving from one place to the next.
Safety is a major concern for seniors while moving around.
While you want your elderly loved one to move about freely at home and outdoors, ensuring the safety of the elderly person while using the walker is always a major concern.
While the walker provides seniors with the balance they need while standing or walking so that they don’t trip over, it can only do so much.
For instance, unlike the walker, the rollator is fitted with brakes, which makes using the rollator much more convenient and safe for seniors.
Compact rollators come in three different sizes and offer the user with an unmatched level of control with sturdy wheels and well-fitted brakes to slow down the rollator when needed.
The brakes that have been fitted in the rollator allows the user to have the freedom to choose the pace as they go.
What About Walker/Rollator Combo?
So, now that we already know what traditional walkers and rollators are and the main differences between the two, it’s time to look at the third option, which is the walker/rollator combo.
As the name implies, the walker/rollator combo is a cross between the walker and rollator.
It basically gets you the best of both worlds, where you get the support and lightweight design of the traditional walker, while also getting the ease of use of the rollator due to the inclusion of wheels to the design.
This is another great choice for those who do not have enough upper body strength to frequently lift the traditional walker while moving from one place to the next.
With the convenient design of the walker/rollator combo, all the user has to do is push forward gently while walking.
The main difference between the walker/rollator combo and the rollator is that while the latter has four wheels, the walker/rollator combo only has two. These wheels are fixed on the two front legs of the walker to ease mobility.
Another combination of this design is the rollator/transport chair. As the name implies, the rollator/transport chair can be used as both a rollator by pushing it forward and using the brakes to adjust your speed.
It can also be used as a transport chair to sit on while someone else pushes it forward. Needless to say, this is another option that comes highly recommended since it offers the user more flexibility and convenience while traveling.
Who Can Benefit the Most from Walkers?
There can be many benefits of using a Walker vs Rollator depending on the individual. The following are some of the beneficial reasons why walkers are the best choice for seniors who need a bit of assistance in their mobility.
Safer to Walk With
As compared to a walking cane, the walker is considered to be much safer. A walker adds another layer of safety for seniors while walking.
The walker is a great choice for those seniors who need support while walking around the house, around the block, or to the nearest convenience store.
A walker is mostly known for the high level of stability it offers the user while they are walking.
If your senior loved one has a tendency to slip and fall while walking, or has tripped in the past, then choosing a walker can give them the right amount of stability they need to move from one place to the next comfortably and safely.
Go Out on Longer Walks
One of the major benefits of using a walker is that it allows you to have the freedom to go out on longer walks.
While a walking cane might be a good choice for those seniors who do not require much stability, walkers have been specially designed for those seniors who are looking for easier mobility.
Since the standard walker is considered to be far more stable as compared to a walking cane, seniors can walk for longer distances without having to worry about slipping or tripping over.
Since a walker has to be lifted from time to time, it has to be lightweight.
There are many manufacturers out there offering their versions of the traditional walker. This makes it easier for you to find the right lightweight design for your senior loved one.
A walker that’s well built and lightweight ensures that the user is able to walk comfortably while maintaining their balance without injuring themselves due to the weight.
On the other hand, rollators usually tend to be a bit bulky, which can make it difficult to walk through narrow corridors and spaces.
Who Can Benefit the Most from Rollators?
There are many ways in which seniors can benefit from using rollators.
The following are just some of the advantages of using a rollator as compared to going with the traditional walker.
Easy to Use
For those who are lacking in arm strength, the rollator seems to be the better option for the regular walker.
This is because, unlike the traditional walker, the rollator does not have to be lifted in order to move forward. One of the major perks of a rollator is that it is fitted with four sturdy wheels.
This allows the user to move the rollator along smoothly, instead of having to lift it from time to time.
Comes with a Built-in Seat
The rollator comes with a built-in seat, which makes it a far more convenient choice than the traditional walker.
The addition of the seat to its design means that a person can rest periodically while using the rollator.
Rather than having to keep walking until they find a bench to sit on, the rollator’s seat allows seniors to sit when they need to.
All they have to do is put on the brakes, turn around the rollator and sit down comfortably on the walker itself, which is not possible while using a traditional walker.
Offers Maximum Support
Since a rollator has been fitted with a built-in seat, wheels, and brakes, it is able to provide the elderly with maximum support.
This makes it possible for them to walk for longer distances without getting tired or fatigued or causing pain in their arms. With a rollator, senior citizens get to walk freely and perform their daily activities without fearing the risk of falling.
Since both of these assistive devices come with their share of advantages and disadvantages, when it comes to choosing between a Walker vs Rollator, it all comes down to the personal preference and requirements of the individual.