Rollators are a fantastic choice for seniors who wish to stay mobile but may wish to stop and catch their breath frequently.
And thanks to the wheels, a rollator is also easier to maneuver around -even on uneven surfaces- than conventional walkers that must be lifted.
That said, rollator walkers are also most commonly misused, which places the senior at grave risk of horrible injuries or worse from falls.
We shall show you- in a step by step format- how to use a rolling walker properly to prevent falls and other dangers.
This will be followed up by a highlight of safety tips when using a rollator walker for the best and safest experience.
First off, here is how to use a rolling walker properly:
How to use a rolling walker properly
When training how to use a rolling walker properly, note that you need to master several essential skills- how to adjust it, stand up, walk, sit down, and more.
We are going to look at all of them below.
1. How to adjust rollator walkers
Setting the correct height of your walker should be among the very first things to do before you begin to use the mobility aid.
That will be our first lesson.
How to properly set the right height of a rollator walker
Before we start, it’s important to understand that having someone else around will make your life easier when doing this.
His task will be to monitor if you’re standing in an appropriate position.
Step by step
- Stand upright- try to be as close to the rollator as you possibly can.
- Allow your arms to hang/suspend down. Also ensure they’re relaxed.
- Now adjust the rollator handles, up to the wrist level.
- Set the two handles to the same height then grip the handles to test if you’ll be comfortable and have a good posture when you start to walk.
- Adjust the height up/down as necessary until they’re at a position you feel most comfortable.
Side Note: Keep in mind that the correct steps to adjust your rollator walker will depend on the exact model you own. However, these steps will give you solid ideas on where to begin.
2. How to Walk With a Rollator Walker
With the right height set, let’s turn our attention on how to actually walk with a wheeled walker:
- While standing with both feet ‘inside’ the frame of your rollater, firmly grip the walker’s side grips.
- Gently roll your walker forward – Keep it close enough because you want it to be supportive throughout- then step back inside it’s frame
- Now step forward- and it’s your weaker leg to lead.
- Next, step forward with the other leg- you place it ahead of the weak leg.
- Repeat steps 2-4 to move forward.
Side Note: Please avoid the temptation to take giant steps while using the rollator- it’s one of the surest ways to lose balance! Plus, maintain good posture (keep your back straight) at all times.
Now, if you’re using a rolling walker with a seat, you should always engage its brakes before you sit on it.
So, how should you lock the brakes on your rollator?
Take a look:
3. How to lock brakes on rollator
The process is pretty simple…
Simply push the brake handles down until they lock into position- in most cases, you can hear the brakes ‘click’/engage into a locked position.
To avoid disaster, do not try to use the rollator until you have confirmed that the wheels won’t move.
We will work with the assumption that the brakes are engaged so here is the next important thing- how to sit down properly:
4. How to sit down on the rollator
- Lock the brakes.
- Turn around slowly until the back of both your legs touches against the seat (Use the handles as you turn to steady your body).
- With your hands holding onto the handles, lower yourself onto its seat – slowly and carefully, of course.
For safety, be sure:
- To distribute your weight as evenly as possible on the seat.
- Not to lean on just one side of your walker.
- To rest flat both feet on the ground.
Now we shall look at the opposite move- standing up from the rolling walker….
5. How to stand up from a rolling walker
- Lock the brakes.
- Move forward then sit near the edge of its seat (but at a safe point)- Your feet should be placed furthest possible under you.
- Lean forward a bit and use both arms to support you stand up (Never pull on/tilt the rollator as a means to help you stand. Instead, ask a friend/caregiver to help if necessary).
- Once practical (you might need to step forward slightly to stand up steadily and straight), grab both the handles of your walker.
- Don’t resume walking immediately- steady yourself until you feel ready to start walking again and remember to unlock the blocks.
6. How to turn around
Turning is not complicated as well.
Follow this procedure to turn when necessary:
While staying safely within the width of your rolling walker (even if you’re actually behind to some degree), roll it around you until it’s in the direction you want.
Word of caution: You can easily twist your back while turning this way, which can cause you some pain/worsen your back problems. To prevent the issue, turn along it and ‘in parallel’– you take small steps and face the front of your walker as you turn.
How to use a rolling walker properly- general safety tips
- Look forward (and not at your feet) always when walking with the rollator.
- Wear comfy non-skid shoes- they will offer extra protection against slipping.
- Make sure both your hands are on the walker and that all the wheels are securely touching the ground before putting your weight on the walker.
- Still on weight transfer, be careful not to place more weight on just one side- the walker could tip over!
For some people, mastering these procedures is a piece of cake.
Don’t worry if you seem to be taking too long- keep learning and repeating until you’re at home.
After all, you’re honing a skill that will give you the mobility and independence you deserve to enjoy your golden years.