My dad’s face beamed with joy as he pushed his shiny new rolling walker out of Jack’s pharmacy yesterday. Just like a kid with a new bike, my dad is super excited with his new rolling walker. It’s got big 8″ wheels, which are more stable and rugged looking than his former 6″ wheels, a large fabric basket to hold all his essentials, and is a snazzy shade of red. I tried my darndest to get the cup holder but my practical dad overruled my desire to trick out his new ride, as the kids would say.
If you are in search of a rolling walker (sometimes called a rollator) here are a few simple things to consider:
Step #1: Before going to the store…
- Surf the web for info. I found the tips and advice on justwalkers.com very helpful.
- Measure the narrowest doorway in your home to make sure the walker fits. If the user lives in assisted living, rolling walkers should fit fine since the doorways are large to accommodate wheelchairs.
- Get the height and weight of the person using the rolling walker to determine which models are best. My dad is about 5′ 1″ now, so there were fewer options to choose from since many of the models are for people 5′ 3″ and taller.
Step #2: You’re at the store…what to tell the salesperson.
- User height
- User weight
- Where will the rolling walker be used: indoor or both indoor/outdoor
- Type of seat: plastic or padded (Tip: a plastic seat can be hard and slippery, so we got the padded seat since my dad uses the walker as a chair when we are out and there’s nowhere to sit.)
- Basket: fabric or wire and located under the seat or in front of the walker? (Tips: things fall out between the weave of the wire basket so we’ve found fabric a better option. Also, the basket under the seat is easier to reach than when it is located in front of the rolling walker.)
Step #3: Test-drive!
- Once the salesperson identifies some rolling walkers to consider, have the user set the hand brakes. Some of the hand breaks required a great deal of strength to set and since my dad has arthritis these models were quickly ruled out.
- Next, have the user sit down in the seat to make sure the height is comfortable. (Tip: the users feet should be flat against the ground when seated. If his or her feet don’t touch the ground the seat is too high.)
- Now the fun, have the user walk around and test-drive the rolling walker.
Hope these tips are helpful. And, most of all, hope the rolling walker gets your loved one out and about safely! And, though I couldn’t buy any accessories for my dad’s rolling walker, he has put a few personal touches on his new wheels!