A rollator is a mobility assistance device used by seniors to maintain their independence and mobility.
It features four wheels (sometimes three), padded seat for resting and an ergonomically designed back rest and typically has a basket for storage underneath the padded seat so that you can carry essentials while your hands are busy operating the rollators.
Now, in my opinion this product has its advantages and disadvantages, and it may be better for you to use a walker instead (the walker may be safer), depending upon the physical ability of the operator.
So I will go through the benefits of having a rollator and then the potential problems you may have with the device.
Benefits of a Rollator
I think the biggest benefit of a rollator is that it is a walker with a seat, making it ideal for those who don’t have the endurance to walk long distances anymore and need to take frequent rests.
At any point in time if you choose just activate the brakes (more on this below) and use the padded seat.
In addition, because it doesn’t have the rubber stops that a walker has you can typically travel farther with a rollator than with a conventional walker.
Disadvantage of a Rollator
As I see it…and the reason that I did not get one for my mother…the biggest disadvantage to a rollator is the brake system. From the research I did many seniors have an issue operating the brake system of rollators. This creates a situation where two things happen…
- They let the rollator get ahead of them, causing poor posture and lower back problems
- The device gets so far ahead of them that they fall face-first and risk serious injury
Seniors who can’t use the braking system also would have major problems with sitting down on the padded seat. It would be too easy for the rollator to roll out from under them when they are trying to sit down.
To give you an idea of what I mean…I found this video online that shows how to operate the braking system. If you are thinking of using this type of device, or planning on purchasing it for a loved one, you need to decide if they still have the ability to operate the braking system safely.
(Disclosure: I am not affiliated with rollmobility.com in any way. I am just using this video to give you an understanding of how the braking system works)
So now that you have the pros and the cons of rollators, you are equipped to make a decision as to which would be best for you. If you do choose the rollator over the walker…the Medline series of rollators have been given consistently high reviews overall (most are good but a few point out the braking problem) on Amazon.
Return to the “Stuff Senior Citizens Need” Homepage