Rollator or walker?
Let's start by distinguishing the language around walking aids. "Wheeled walkers", "rollators with seat", "foldable walking aid", etc. There is a long list of terms attributed to rollators.
A walker is a wheeled frame designed for indoor use. It is recognized by its two small front wheels and two rear skids, or skis. It doesn't have a seat, but we can easily add a tray or a basket to it.
The rollator, conversely, is designed for outdoor use. It sports four bigger wheels which can soften the bumps and cracks in the grounds. With its seat, one can sit to rest when walking over long distances would otherwise be impossible.
So you want a rollator. Sure, but which one ?
There are five main characteristics you need to consider to find the right rollator for you.
1. The height of the seat
On most rollators, the height of the seat is fixed to the frame. Therefore, you have to choose the right one.
It might seem obvious that the higher you are seated, the easier it will be to stand back up. That said, there is such a thing as too high a seat.
First, your feet should rest firmly on the gorund to ensure the greates stability when standing back up. Then, your knees should be at about 90° to the hips or lower. If the knees are too low, the seat will cause a pressure on the calf, which can reduce blood flow and cause numbness in the legs, which can present a risk of falling.
Broadly speaking, for a person of a height of :
4’3’’ to 5’5’’, we recommend a seat height of 18’’.
5’ to 6’2’’, we recommend a seat height of 20’’.
5’9’’ to 6’11’’, we recommend a seat height of 23’’.
Of course, these measurements aren't set in stone. In any case, we recommend you consult with your health specialist, or one of our salesperson in the store to find the right seat height for you.
2. The shape of the backrest
All rollators have a backrest, but not all are as comfortable as the other.
Of course, comfort is such a personnal concept as to make it impossible to predict which one you will prefer. Which is why it usually best to come by the store and try them out.
Broadly, a larger backrest will provide a better lombar support, which might make it more comfortable.
Of course, a rollator isn't your favorite armchair, as it isn't designed to be seated for many hours. Nevertheless you can reasonably expect to be comfortably seated for 20 to 30 mins while resting from your walking.
3. The folding system
Rollators can either fold laterally or vertically.
The laterlly folding rollators can stand on their own after having been folded. As such, they take up very little space in your car's trunk or beside the dinner table.
It is also much easier to handle by those of limited upper body strenght or fine dexterity.
Vertically folded rollators, although they cannot stand on their own when folded, generally have a sturdier seat, which is often padded, providing greater comfort while seated.
4. The basket
Flexible or rigid ?
The rigid baskets are much more resistant than their flexible counterparts, which can tear after some time. The flexible baskets can be left of the rollator when folding it, whereas the rigid ones need to be removed and reinstalled each time.
5. The use ... Is a rollator really what you need ?
Ask yourself a few questions :
Do I find myself needing to rest but unable to find a seat ?
Do I limit my outdoor activities because I cannot go for long distances without needing to sit ?
To I sometimes have trouble with my balance and risk falling down ?
If you have answered "yes" to any of these questions, the rollator might just be what you are looking for. A wide range of choices are available, and it will be our pleasure toguide you through you tryouts in our store, if only to see if you like them.
Is it worth it to rent one?
Renting a rollator for a long period of time quickly costs as much as buying one.
Nevertheless, if someone isn't sure if the rollator is the right product for them, it might be worth it. If you are without the counsel of a health specialist, it might be wise to try a rental for a few weeks in order to figure out for yourself if you are comfortable and safe when using a rollator.
How to choose where to buy your rollator ?
Before buying your rollator anywhere, choose wisely.
The price is an important factor to consider, of course, but it isn't the only one.
All rollators have a manufacturer's warranty on potential defects, and it is important the store you buy from honours these warranties.
Is there anything more frustrating than being told to call the manufacturer yourself when you need repairs ?
Here at MCL, we take that responsability.
Rollators are usually sturdy products, and very few parts break down. But given a few years, some repairs might become necessary. Make sure the store you buy from is able to make those repairs.
Here at MCL, we can repair any rollator we sell, and keep a stock of spare parts so you don't have to wait too long for your repairs.
Someone who needs a rollator usually needs it every day and cannot deprive themselves from it for very long.
Here at MCL, we understand that reality, which is why a repair shop is right in our store. With an appointment, your rollator can be repaired on the spot, meaning you won't need to leave it for many days.
Take a look at the rollators section of our website, call us, or come by our store, to find out if we have the right parts. For any other questions, take a look at our Contact Us page where you can find our contact information.
Whether you are shopping for yourself or someone close to you, it is important that the rollator fills your needs. Here at MCL, we are there to help you find it.