Best Rollator (Walker) for You
Our Longevity Explorers wanted to understand how to choose the best rollator (rolling walker). More specifically, they asked themselves:
"When acquiring a Rollator or Walker, which features matter for a given individual, and how does one decide exactly which product to get for yourself, or a friend?"
Many older adults, especially those in retirement communities, use a rolling walker (more correctly the wheeled version of a walker is called a Rollator). These products come in many shapes and sizes, with various features. How do you know which features matter? And how do you decide whether to get three wheels or four; large wheels or small; and which types of brakes are most suitable?
Our Explorers have been investigating this topic in a series of discussions and research reports and this Explorer Insight summarizes what we have learned together so far. This is a work in progress and we expect it will be updated as our community learns more.
What matters in choosing a Rollator: explorer presentation
Don S., a member of the Saratoga Retirement Community Explorer Circle, has been researching the best rollator to purchase for a family member. He volunteered to collect the research he had been doing on this topic and share it with the group. Here is his presentation. The discussion that follows the presentation is well worth listening to, as the 14 members of this circle discuss the report, and share their experiences.
View the presentation
View Don S's presentation.
Key topics in this discussion: how to choose the best rollator
In the presentation above, Don S. covers a broad range of features that are important in choosing a rollator. The discussion includes the following:
- What is a Rollator?
- Key attributes, including size, wheel size, weight, brakes, brake handles, seat height, bags, folding size;
- Examples of lots of different rollator styles;
- All about brake type and what matters;
- How to think about making the right selection for you.
Where to learn more about specific products
There are a number of specialty durable medical equipment stores, and they tend to be regional, so there may well be one near you. We don't have specific recommendations.
One place to get started, where you can read reviews and check out quite a selection of rollators and walkers is Amazon.
All-terrain Rollators (Walkers)
Most of the rolling walkers described above in Don's presentation are for use on pavement or roads or indoors. But a recurring theme in our explorer discussions on walkers has been the desire to go off-road. As one of our explorers who uses a walker says: "I want to be empowered, and to go where I want to go". (Elaine L.)
Now Elaine has actually designed a novel new "all terrain walker," and you can read more about that here. But Elaine's walker is only a prototype and not yet available for sale, and we wanted to find some all-terrain walkers / rollators we could actually buy.
After a bit of Googling we did indeed find several of all-terrain designs. You can see them in the display at the very bottom of this page (scroll down).
Full Transcript of Don's Walker / Rollator Presentation
Below is the full transcripts of the video above (Don's presentation). It includes some interesting Q&A at the end about rolaltors and walker preferences from the attending older adult explorers.
Don: It struck me that we'd see dozens and dozens of Rollators or walkers around here, and we personally have been through three of these devices trying to figure out which one may be right for my wife. I think I can say I learned the hard way, and maybe I haven't learned yet either, but whatever... there we go.
Let me give you a little bit of introduction. So, why do we have Rollators and so on, and I appreciate corrections. It's primarily a way for fall prevention. I mean, people they use Rollators, they use them not to fall, they're maybe helping walking as well, but maybe the primary reason according to what I read is to prevent falls. So the question is, how do we minimize falls, and maybe help people to be better walkers.
So, the issue is walking stability. You know, sometimes in our lives, peramulating or walking is a challenge. So we have alternatives that include staying in bed, we can use a cane, we can use a walker, we can use a Rollator - and that's the subject for today. You can use a wheel chair or you can use an electric chair.