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How to Choose a Walker or Rollator
24 July 2018

How to Choose a Walker or Rollator

People need medical walkers or rollators for a variety of reasons: shortness of breath, arthritic pain, inability to walk and carry objects at the same time, fear of falling... these are only a few. Walkers and rollators are made to increase your safety while you perform daily activities. Many people actually find it that they feel more secure because their chances of falling are reduced, and they can be more independent because they don’t have to rely on another person to help them get around. A correctly selected walker will allow you to live your life to your maximum ability.

Traditional walkers tend to provide a bit more stability, but wheels can reduce friction and make movement easier. If lifting and maneuvering a standard walker is a struggle, you may want to opt for a wheeled variant, but if maintaining balance is difficult with a wheeled walker, you may want to opt for a standard model. Rollators can be easier to use than walkers because they are pushed like a cart rather than having to be lifted. Rollators are good for use both indoors and outdoors where the surfaces may be uneven.

When choosing a walker or a rollator, it is important to consider many factors. While deciding on the wheel options is probably the most significant difference, there are other things you will want to consider.

Seat – Is it important you have a seat?

If so, that will narrow down what you are looking for as the four-wheeled rollator will have seating options. Seat height may also be something to consider. Some rollators have an adjustable seat height while other do not. Measure the height of a chair you like and from which you can rise easily. If you have difficult with a chair that is too high or too low, keep that in mind when selecting a rollator with a seat. Also think about the shape, material and length of time you’ll be using the seat. If you intend to use it as a seat for long periods of time, a comfortable seat cushion will be a concern.

Width – Where will you use your walker?

Measure the width of the smallest place you will need to fit through. Most often, that is a doorway or hallway. Most four wheel rollators are larger than 22", the standard width of a bathroom door. Make sure you can maneuver the walker or wheelchair sideways if you will be going through small doorways or using small closets.

Weight – Check yours and your equipment choice

Look both for the weight capacity and the overall product weight. Be sure you are comfortably under the weight capacity of any mobility product to ensure it will support you correctly. The overall product weight is important if you must lift it into a car trunk or up stairs. Most people need to take their walker in a vehicle, so it is important that you feel that you can easily fold it for transport.

Wheel Size – Indoor and outdoor use

If you will be using your rollator outside on uneven ground, you’ll need large wheels. Anything 8" or over is considered large. If you will primarily be using it indoors or on smooth surfaces, smaller wheels should work just as well.

Cost – Will insurance cover it?

Medicare Part B covers walkers, including rollators, as durable medical equipment. You will want to bring in a prescription from your doctor when you come to look at walkers and rollators. You're co-pay will be 20% of the cost. For other types of insurance, it's best to call your provider prior to coming into the store so you know what to expect. You may be able to choose whether to rent or buy the equipment, or your insurance company may insist you do one or the other. The Fonte staff will help you with your insurance questions either way.

Maintenance – What if something breaks on my walker?

Fonte Surgical Supply is here to support you throughout the life of your purchase. We honor all our manufacturers’ warranties. If you run into trouble, visit one of our two locations, or call us at (585) 338-1000 in Irondequoit or at (585) 247-4747 in Brighton.