Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rolling Walkers: Another Way to Be Unlimited!

We see our share of rolling walkers or rollators as they have been called by some manufacturers. Walkers with wheels are a great invention that have enhanced the lives of many, restoring mobility and independence to them as age, illness or injury impeded the ability to walk easily and without assistance. The first rolling walker appeared in the late 1970s as manufacturers in Germany experimented with the application of swivel wheels to a basic walker frame. The model evolved into the A-Frame four-wheeled walker somewhere in the late 1980s, early 1990s and has persisted as a preferred mobility device for over 15 years. Outfitted with brakes, this piece of equipment is ubiquitous in assisted living residences, nursing homes and rehab centers.

Requiring relatively low maintenance makes the four-wheeled walker desirable. Its functional design, including a seat and basket, provides comfort and portability. It is understandable that many people never think about caring for the rollator once it is in hand. We see our share of these rolling walkers to be sure. And often they are in need of some TLC.

Here are some clues that your four-wheeled walker (or that of a loved one) should have some maintenance:
  • Pulls to one direction or the other.
  • Squeaks or clicks when operated.
  • Brakes do not apply easily or completely.
  • Brakes drag and do not release fully.
  • Cables are worn or torn.
  • Wheels or tires are worn, torn or pitted.
Other safety concerns need to be considered when purchasing a rolling walker. While the seat is a wonderful and helpful attraction, the process of sitting on the walker can be dangerous if the individual fails to lock the brakes first before sitting. We find this to be one of the more difficult habits to cultivate when using a rolling walker. The other temptation is for individuals to sit and “scoot” along with their feet. Often, however, because of the way the seat is affixed to the walker, individuals propel themselves backward. The walker is not intended to be used this way and therefore does not have the stability required. We have heard of several who have tipped over and injured themselves with this action. It is also not advised to push anyone while s/he is seated on a rolling walker for the same reasons. The unit is meant to be used while walking as a stabilizing and assistive device.

We were happy to discover the Nexus III when we opened. This is a rollator manufactured by Dana Douglas, a Canadian company. Its design, however, is completely unique. Instead of the traditional A-frame, the Nexus has a vertical front leg making the unit significantly more stable. This feature also allows the walker to fold and store easily. Uniquely, this walker can also be partially folded to access narrow doorways, for example, without compromising its stability. We carry the cable-less version at Capabilities and find it to be a popular and satisfying purchase for many in the market for a rolling walker.

If you or someone you know has a rolling walker, tell us more about their experiences with it. If you have interest in learning more about the Nexus, email us for more conversation about it. You can also read more about it in our Featured Products section. If you have service or repair questions, visit our FAQs or contact us.

1 comment:

rashid noman said...

I've had this walker for last one years. It is great that it fits in the trunk and car easily. It has great brakes and I love it more than my other walker