What is a rollator?
Rollators for health conditions
Rollator top tips
Handle height guide for rollators
Which rollator is right for you?
- Things to consider
How to choose the right rollator
If you find it challenging to walk without overbalancing or you need regular rest periods when traveling from place to place, a rollator can offer you some additional support to help you stay safe and confident on your feet.
Rollators come in a variety of styles, each with their own benefits, that are designed to meet your individual needs including:
What is a rollator?
A rollator is essentially a walking frame with wheels and brakes. You can choose between 3 wheeled and 4 wheeled versions. Most rollators will have a bag or basket and some will also have a seat. Rollators can be used indoors but can be particularly useful when outdoors.
A rollator is likely to be an option you want to consider if:
If you’re thinking of buying a rollator, it’s very important that you have the strength and ability to control your speed and operate the brakes - particularly if you are using the rollator outdoors when you may encounter slopes and uneven ground.
Rollators may help those with the following health conditions
If the handles on your rollator are too high, your arms/elbows may be too bent, affecting how much body weight can be used through the arms. It may also cause you to lean too far back, affecting your balance and potentially increasing your risk of falls.
If the handles are too low, there could be a tendency to stoop or lean forward affecting your balance, and therefore stability, when walking. This could, again, increase the risk of falls.
Top tips to get the most from your rollator
- Be aware of pushing the rollator too hard When walking with a rollator, it’s best to avoid pushing it too far in front of the body as this could cause you to lean too far forward, increasing the potential risk of falls. It will also make it more difficult to control the speed of the rollator and control the brakes.
- Can you use the rollator safely? It’s important to check you have sufficient range of movement and grip strength in your hands, to enable you to safely operate the brakes on your rollator.
- Think about your body position When turning around using a rollator it’s best to maintain your body position within the width of the frame facing forward, and to avoid twisting.
- Don’t forget the brakes! If you're using a rollator with a seat it’s important to make sure that the brakes, on both sides, are in the locked/parked position before, and whilst, sitting.
What height should the handles be on my rollator?
- To select the correct height for the handles on your rollator:
- Ensure you are wearing the footwear that you are most likely to be wearing when using the rollator i.e. outdoor shoes if the rollator is to be used outdoors.
- Stand upright behind the rollator with your arms hanging at the side of your body.
- Ensure your head is as upright as you can manage and facing forward.
- The handgrips of the rollator should be adjusted to a height level with your wrists - this will enable your elbows to be slightly bent when using the rollator.
Which rollator is right for you?
Offers support when walking outside
Features puncture-proof wheels
Bag, basket and tray for various uses
Light enough to lift into a car
Folds for easy storage
Can be used indoors and outdoors
Large wheels for increased manoeuvrability
Under seat bag for storage
Padded seat and backrest for extra comfort
Transit chair ideal for short distances
Things to consider
- What size of rollator do you need? It’s important to make sure that the height of the handles is correct so you are able to use the rollator safely and comfortably. It’s also important to check that you are within the maximum user weight for a rollator to ensure that it will offer you sufficient support.
- Would a seat be beneficial? If you require a rollator with a seat it may be worth thinking about whether you would prefer a soft or hard seat. It's also important to check that the seat will be at a height that you can comfortably get on and off from.
- Will you need to use the rollator to carry shopping or personal items? If so, ask yourself whether a bag, basket or tray is more suitable. Consider if it will be big enough to carry everything that you need and check if it’s easy to access or whether you need to bend down to reach the contents.
- Will you want to use the rollator indoors? If the rollator is to be used indoors you may want to measure the width of the doors within your home to check that you can safely get through them with the rollator. Don't forget to think about whether you will need to turn a tight corner. It may also be useful to think about using a walking trolley with a tray to help you carry items around your home.
- Will you need to transport the rollator between different locations? If so, the weight and folded size of a rollator may be a significant consideration if you need to lift it in and out of a car.
- What type of wheels do you prefer? Wheels that swivel are generally more manoeuvrable; this can be useful in smaller or busier environments such as shops or restaurants. Fixed wheels, however, can be more useful if you need to walk in a straight line or over uneven ground. Some rollators will allow you to select whether you would like the front wheels to swivel or remain fixed.
- How many wheels are required? Rollators can have either 3 or 4 wheels. A 3 wheeled option can be easier to manoeuvre if you are predominately going to be using it in smaller spaces as it requires less space to turn in. It can also potentially be lighter which may be useful if you need to regularly lift it in and out of a car. However, some of the 4 wheeled options can offer the added benefit of a seat.