If you’re a little unsteady on your feet but still want to get around and are not quite ready for a wheelchair just yet, then a lightweight rollator could be just the answer. Whether your balance is a little shaky, you’re recovering from illness and are still a bit frail, or if you’re elderly but still value your independence, then a lightweight rollator could give you the support you need to get around.
Some rollators come with a seat – a great addition if you need to take a breather every now and again! But the best thing about rollators is that they’re much lighter than a wheelchair, and more easy to manoeuvre than a walking frame, thanks to the addition of wheels and, in some cases, hand lever brakes.
Another useful feature on some rollators is the inclusion of a bag, so if you’re popping down the shops and don’t want to carry heavy shopping bags or get them tangled up on the handles of your rollator, you can simply stow everything away in the bag.
They definitely live up to their name – lightweight rollators are super-lightweight yet very strong. They incorporate light aluminium tubing and Kevlar or plastic parts to make sure the weight stays down. The Ultra-Lightweight Rollator, which is advertised as the lightest in the UK, tips the scales at a featherweight 5.8kg (just under six bags of sugar), yet can support up to 18 stone (252lb). Not only is it incredibly lightweight, but it’s practical too, and can fold down flat for easy storage.
A more robust version such as the Topro Olympos Walker, comes in at around 8kg, so even a larger version of a walker won’t be that much heavier than the lighter versions. You can also get walkers that are specially designed for indoor use (perfect for around the house) such as the Roomba Indoor Rollator, which is just 6kg, and is slightly narrower (at just 24”) so it’ll fit through standard internal door frames with ease.
Rollators take away the worry of moving a heavy object when you’re already a little unsteady on your feet. Because they have wheels attached, rather than blunt ends, you don’t have to lift the whole frame to take a step forward as you do with ordinary walkers. The inclusion of an easy-to-operate lever brake on the hand grips means that there’s no fear of a rollator ‘running away’ from you, either.
Lifting a walking frame to take a step forward can be particularly difficult for those who are elderly or frail as a result of illness or injury. A rollator makes it much easier to walk around, with plenty of support with each step.
However, if you’re only just getting back on your feet after an illness or injury, then it’s always wise to have someone with you once you start getting mobile again. While a rollator can give you the confidence to get up and around, if you’re struggling then don’t be afraid to ask for a little help and support from a carer or relative.
Rollators are actually much easier than a lot of wheelchairs to transport because they pack down into a much smaller space than a full-sized chair (even if it’s a fully foldable one). Rollators are basically a simple aluminium frame that collapses down on itself to lay flat, so it’ll easily fit into the average size car boot.
While there are rollators that are specially designed for use at home, there are a few things you need to consider. Larger models may not fit easily through the average door frame, so choose one like the Roomba Indoor Rollator, which is narrower and specially designed to go through narrow gaps.
Wheels work well on hard surfaces, but they can be a little harder to manoeuvre on carpets, especially thick pile carpets and rugs. In some cases it may be better to use canes that have stable bases rather than a rollator indoors.
Be mindful of stairs or steps when using a rollator. It’s best not to attempt to climb a flight of stairs using a rollator, and it’s important to be careful transitioning from one level to another. Even a single step can be a little bit of an obstacle to a rollator.