Limited mobility and an inability to walk without support are the most undesirable conditions associated with old age. However, this certainly does not mean you can’t walk! A mobility device helps you regain your independence while preventing injury or mishap. They make you feel safer without forcing you to be isolated. With a mobility device, you can move around, go for a walk, and manage your everyday tasks without human assistance.

When it comes to the two most common mobility devices, walkers and rollators, people often ask “what is the difference between a rollator and a walker?” Both devices are used to help people who face balance problems, fatigue, or are at risk of falling. Still, certain differences between the two should be considered before choosing the best mobility aid for you. This article aims to help you distinguish between the two and make the right choice.

A person using a walker

What Is a Walker?

A walker is a supporting device with four legs that are in contact with the ground at all times. It does not have wheels. The device provides stability and support to the upper torso and partial body weight.

To use a person lifts the walker, places it a step ahead, then takes a step forward while gripping the walker for support. Accessories like tennis balls can be added to the device to make it glide forward smoothly and quickly. The tennis balls also prevent scuffing of the floors.

A walker does not have a seat meaning the person using it will remain standing during use. The main purpose of a walker is to help ensure balance and stability while walking. A hybrid version of the walker has two front wheels with two wheel-less back feet.

What Is a Rollator?

An elderly woman walking with a rollator

As the name suggests, rollators can “roll” because of their wheeled legs. They are also known as rolling walkers or wheeled walkers. A person using a rollator to walk simply needs to push it forward, as the wheels help the person glide forward with the device, without lifting it up.

Rollators are great walking devices but should not be used for purposes like balancing or supporting the body. Doing so can make the device trip or glide dangerously causing injuries.

A desirable feature of a rollator is their adjustable seats with removable backs. Hence, you can move around in this device while sitting comfortably. They are available in three-wheeler and four-wheeler models. The front swivel wheels facilitate maneuvering the rollator while the handbrakes enable the user to stop when required. Moreover, for more comfort, padded seats and a backrest are designed along with a pouch to carry your private items.

What’s the Difference Between a Rollator and Walker?

The major difference between a rollator and a walker is that a rollator has wheels and must be pushed whereas the walker is a frame with handles and legs that the user lifts and places, then supports as you walk to it. A rollator is faster compared to the walker, because of its wheels accompanied with hand-controlled brakes.

If you face difficulty bearing your body weight with one or both of your feet or you have been advised to take extra care after a bone replacement surgery, you should opt for a walker. Doctors recommend walkers for the elderly person who needs assistance to move around the bedroom or walk to the washroom. Using a rollator is not the right choice because it doesn’t provide the necessary support and can roll out from under you.

A rollator is a better option for those who have a higher degree of walking ability. A rollator is ideal for a person who can push yet needs assistance conserving energy while you walk. You can walk faster without having to lift with your arms.

Also, a walker is a better device in limited spaces because rollator wheels add extra width.

In conclusion, when buying a walker or rollator, keep your strength, stamina, and comfort in mind. Your space limitations and agility level should be considered as well. Whichever you choose, the purpose is to walk with maximum ease and not to challenge yourself. We trust we have answered your FAQ: “what is the difference between a rollator and a walker?”  Thank you.

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It had finally arrived. We were moved into a small retirement community. After the pain in my hips subsided, and my body revived from proper rest, I was faced with assessing my future. Not old enough to retire and not willing to give up my freedom I embarked on this new adventure: Helping Seniors. After all, I could learn a lot by helping this new age group I belonged to. Thus “Sensible Senior Living” was founded. It is my desire to help others enjoy those “golden years” we are now living in. Enjoy the site and most of all enjoy each and every day you have. In each of you is wisdom, insight and vitality that others can benefit from. You are no less valuable, you’re simply limited in your physical ability to administer that value. Do what you can, be who you are, know your limitations. and live on.


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