Nowadays there is a such a wide range of mobility aids available for everyone who needs assistance getting around, that it’s helpful to explain the purposes and differences between them. They vary from walking sticks, often used just for confidence, to walking frames for around the house, and the 3-4 wheeled rollators at the other end of the spectrum, for indoor and outdoor use.
Walking Sticks, Tripods & Quadrupeds
Walking sticks are the first product someone would look at when they’ve had a fall and lost confidence, they come in a variety of styles, starting with wooden sticks, followed by height adjustable walking sticks, finishing with adjustable height tripods, and adjustable height quadruped walking sticks. Each model comes with rubber ferrules at the base for grip. The Tripod and Quadrupeds have more surface contact, by the additional legs providing more balance than a standard walking stick. Wooden walking sticks needs to be cut to size, where the adjustable models can be easily adjusted, up and down.
Walking frames are designed as the next level up from walking sticks, where additional support is needed, for balance and stability. It’s better for support as it spreads the body weight over both hand grips and require arm strength to use. Walking frames are mostly lightweight, height adjustable, and come with four legs. Some can come with the 2 front legs converted to wheels, for those who no longer have the strength to lift and follow. They are suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
Rollators – Zimmer Frames
Rollators, or Zimmer frames, are very similar to walking frames in that they are also designed for people who have lost mobility. They are more manoeuvrable than walking frames and can be used indoors and outdoors. They are ideal those with more independence and better balance, especially for trips to shops, neighbours , as they come with 3 and 4 wheeled versions. They can come with seats and brakes, allowing you the possibility of taking a breather, or stopping for a chat when outdoors.
Weight and Portability
Nowadays, most people opt for aluminium over steel – they’re a bit more expensive, but a lot lighter and that’s important, because most people using them no longer have the strength they had.
Folding walkers and Folding Rollators are selected mostly for storage, when not in use to save space at home, or more importantly, to allow you collapse it to store flat in a car boot. Otherwise, a non-folding model will take up the whole back seat.