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How to Properly Use a Rolling Walker

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Knowing how to use a rolling walker properly is a major dilemma for first-time users.

Although there are different types of walkers, rolling walkers, also called rollators, do have a big advantage compared to your regular, stand-up walkers.

However, besides the fact that it may take some getting used to, there is actually a proper way on how to use these assistive devices.

Read on to learn exactly what that proper way consists of!

Check: Premium Walkers for Seniors

Tips on Using a Rolling Walker

Follow the steps below and you’ll learn how to use a rolling walker properly in no time!

Start by Fitting Your Walker

The first thing to do when getting a rolling walker is to adjust it to the correct height. 

Place the walker on a flat surface.

Make sure that the bar height is at hip height when standing next to the walker.

The top of the walker should be high enough for the user to be able to stand up as straight as possible without having to bend in order for the user to maintain the correct posture.

Check out the video below for a visual guide on fitting your walker:

Know What to Do When Inside the Walker

With the walker in a locked position,  step inside and hold on to the grips. Check to see that your elbows are slightly bent, approximately to an angle of 15 degrees. 

Adjust the wrist level by placing your hand on the grips while making sure that the top of the grip is at the same level as the fold on your wrist.

Get a Feel of the Walker

Try to first stand up inside your walker and check your balance. This is especially important for individuals who have issues with balance. 

Try using your arms for balance assistance as you remain standing in your walker to get a feel of your balance.

woman showing how to use a rolling walker properly

Taking Your First Step

When trying to walk using your wheeled walker, try taking one slight step forward first starting on one foot. Engage the brake handles so that your walker doesn’t move as you take your first step.

Follow through with the other foot and stand. Unlike a standard walker which does not contain wheels, you will need to get a feel of your balance on a wheeled walker.

Release the brakes and push your wheeled walker slightly forward. Make sure that you don’t hunch or bend as you do so.

Make sure that after you push your walker forward that you are able to maintain your balance. Activate the brake levers once again.

Once you are able to establish a sense of balance, take a small step forward once again on one foot and follow it on with the other.

Repeat these actions until you are able to feel comfortable with your walker.

Turning While Using Your Walker

Stay within the confines of your walker, still maintaining proper balance. Release the brakes and turn your walker slightly in the direction you want to go to.

Engage the brakes and take a slight step towards the same direction with one foot. Follow through with the other foot. Repeat the same action until you face the direction you wish to go to.

Once you are able to face the proper direction, proceed to the steps that you would take walking.

wife assisting his husband to use a rolling walker

Sitting Down

Move towards a chair up to the point where you feel the back of your legs touching the edge of the chair. Make sure that the walker is facing forward.

Engage the park brakes.

Prepare to sit down and bend your knees, making sure that your body weight is equally distributed on the walker. 

Standing Up

While in a seated position, make sure that the walker is as near you as possible. 

Engage the brakes. With both hands on the walker, try to lean a bit forward and prepare your arms for weight-bearing to provide a bit of support as you prepare to stand up.

With a firm grip, try to stand up using your legs as you continue to use your arms for support.

Check out the video below to see how to go from sitting to standing with your walker:

Managing a Curb

Push your walker up to the edge of a curb. Engage the brakes. 

Push the front wheels down the curb and disengage the brakes so you can slightly push the rollator a bit forward. 

Engage the brakes. Lift the rear wheels of the rollator and bring them down the curb.

Step down and disengage the brakes as you continue to resume walking with the rollator.

7 Safety Tips for Using Rolling Walker

  • When walking with the rollator, take small steps so that you maintain proper posture. Large steps make you hunch down which may result in poor posture.
  • When turning, keep the walker in front of you. Avoid twisting away from the walker when you are preparing for a turn.
  • If you must need assistance while using the walker, make sure that the weight is kept over your feet. Do not have them pull the walker too far from you so that you can still maintain balance.
  • Low-heeled shoes with ties provide better support when using a rollator./
  • Try to avoid waxed or slippery surfaces, and even throw rugs, when using your rollator
  • Remember to engage the brakes whenever you are about to sit down or stand up.
  • Call for assistance when using the walker on stairs since walkers are difficult to manage in this situation.

For an actual demo, check the video below:

FAQs

What is the difference between a wheeled walker and a rollator?

four wheeled walkers

A Rollator is a four-wheeled walker that usually comes with park brakes. Some may even come with a built-in seat and basket accessory for storage.
A wheeled walker looks like a regular walker but with wheels. These may be front-wheeled walkers only or there is the 3-wheeled walker as well.

Can a rollator walker be used as a wheelchair?

Most rollators may not be used as wheelchairs, although there are some rollators that are designed with that purpose in mind.
They may cost a bit more than the regular rollator walker. You may check out this link to see how much does a walker cost to compare prices.

Conclusion

Rollator walkers are a great mobility aid device for seniors and for individuals who want to maintain their independence while going through their daily routine.

These provide much better support than standard canes which can only be used for intermittent weight-bearing.

Although these take some time to get used to — especially for individuals with poor balance — these can be a useful tool for individuals to keep an active lifestyle, even through injury or old age.

References

  • “How to Measure for Rollator – Rollator Size Guide.” n.d. Www.phc-Online.com. Accessed November 2, 2021. https://www.phc-online.com/Measure_for_Rollator_s/8791.htm#:~:text=Adjust%20the%20height%20of%20the.
  • “How to Use a Walker.” 2019. Cleveland Clinic. 2019. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15542-how-to-use-a-walker.
  • “Tips for Choosing and Using Walkers.” 2019. Mayo Clinic. 2019. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/multimedia/walker/sls-20076469?s=3.
  • “Types of Walkers.” 2019. St. Jude Together. 2019. https://together.stjude.org/en-us/care-support/rehabilitation/types-of-walkers.html.
senior man about to stand up using his walker

If you have more tips on how to use a rolling walker properly, let us know in the comments below!

About Dayna C

Dayna has an incredible passion for helping others and a background as an in-home caregiver for the elderly. She left the field temporarily three years ago to stay at home with her twins, but found that she really missed working with senior citizens. She launched LoAids as a way to help not just her own loved ones and former clients, but ALL seniors live life to the fullest in their golden years.  Follow her on LINKEDIN and TWITTER. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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