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Wheeled Walkers

Before you buy a wheeled walker consider the following points;

Top Tip

3 wheeled walkers may tip more easily on pronounced cambers.

Decide whether you want your walker for indoor or outdoor use. Indoor wheeled walking frames (Zimmer type with 2 wheels on the front) are lightweight and compact and are designed for using in a confined space. They are not suitable for prolonged outdoor use, although they may be suitable for very short distances such as accessing the garden or walking to the care. Outdoor wheeled walkers tend to be heavier and bulkier and may be difficult to manoeuvre around furniture especially if you live in a small house or have a lot of furniture.

Outdoor walking frames (often called rollators) are available in 3 or 4 wheeled versions. 3 wheeled rollators are very simple and provide light support, but they are not as stable as 4 wheeled rollators and they rarely have a seat.

Top Tip

It is possible to store a rollator on the back seats.

It is very important that a 3 wheeled rollator is only used when the frame is braced in the fully open position, so make sure that it will fit through all the spaces, doorways, etc. that you are likely to frequently use.

All outdoor rollators have brakes - most have cable brakes (like a bicycle) but if you cannot manage this type of brake then there are a few models with press down ferrule brakes (the brakes are applied by pressing down hard on the handles). These brakes are not suitable if you need to lean heavily on the rollator when you are walking. Most rollators will also have a system of locking the brakes so that you can sit down without danger of it moving away. The locking brakes are also useful if you need to leave your rollator unattended - it will not prevent theft, but it will stop it rolling away.

Most rollators fold up to go into a car or for storage, but they may still be quite bulky even when folded. Check you can get it into your car if you intend to carry it about in this way.

Top Tip

All outdoor rollators have a braking system.

Rollators can be made of steel or aluminium - steel ones are very robust but tend to be heavier, so if you plan to lift it in/out of a care you may prefer an aluminium model.

If you plan to use your rollator on rough ground, you will find that a model with bigger wheels usually copes better. 

Most rollators come with a shopping bag or basket. Check that this is sufficient for your needs. If you are shopping alone at a supermarket it is difficult to push both a trolley and a rollator, and a trolley will hold much more than a rollator basket. 

Check that the handle and seat heights are suitable for you. Most models have adjustable handles and the height should be set so that when you are standing close the rollator and holding the handles your elbows are only very slightly bent. 

Check that you are within the safe weight limits for the rollator you buy - they all have a maximum user weight limit, and this may vary.

The benefits of trying a wheeled walker before you buy

Top Tip

Rollator prices can vary range between £40 and £250.

There is a range of walkers at ILP at The Lantern that you can try free of charge with no obligation; just ring to make an appointment. You will see an independent assessor who will help and advise you about the most appropriate walker for your needs.

 

Further sources of information

RIDC: www.ridc.org.uk

Disabled Living Foundation: www.dlf.org.uk

 

Demonstration videos

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