Arthritis Pain? Use a Rolling Walker to Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Just a handful of regulars were watching the two men making unremarkable moves on the chess board while two more were scouting the edges of the park in hope of catching a glimpse of Mario. It was usually quiet when he wasn’t around.

Peering through his curtains across the street from the park, a remorseful face grimaced in pain and dropped into his armchair in despair. His sad eyes had taken in the small gathering of his friends casually surrounding the chess board. He saw that two of his buddies were marking time by playing a practice game; they were waiting for him to play the final round in their neighborhood tournament. But he just couldn’t join them, not today.

The pain in his back and legs eased up only when he rested. The arthritis was getting worse and walking to the park was more than he could bear. He used his standard walker to get from room to room in his apartment but would not take it outside. His friends did not know of his reliance on this device, known to all (he thought) as an admittance of pitiful old age. It was important to him that his friends regard him as robust. To be seen hobbling through the park like a sick old man with a walker, was unthinkable.

But Mario wasn’t a quitter. He didn’t give up when things got tough and he didn’t give in to pain. He turned to his computer and decided to look up information on walkers again. Maybe he should consider the walkers with wheels. The ones called rollators. And then he saw a review by a real tough guy who bought and used a walker.

The self-proclaimed old surf bum retired US Marine, on and off road motorcycle racer, and white-water kayaking nut says in an Amazon review, “if you HAVE to use a walker, the Blue Hugo Elite Rollator Walker with Seat, Backrest and Saddle Bag is great.”

Mike was this man’s name and he couldn’t even imagine himself using a walker a few years ago. He is 6’3” and 233 lbs and some days his arthritis pain is so bad he has trouble getting out of bed. But he refuses to let circumstances turn him into a life watcher. He insists on participating as fully as possible in all that life throws at him. Mike says he’s not old, but still “stirring up trouble” with his two cats, Lucy and Ethel, riding on the walker’s seat with him.

Mario knew instantly that a rolling walker was for him. He immediately ordered the same one the ex-marine was using, with padded seat, basket and the saddlebag accessory. With renewed strength he hobbled out to meet his friends – using his old standard walker, but with a great story to tell them about his new rollator that was on the way. He gained new respect from his friends for showing them that someone they respected refused to give up his independence even if it meant using a mobility device. Oh, by the way, he won the tournament.

Top reasons for using mobility devices

The most common reasons people need mobility devices are arthritis and other joint problems, respiratory problems, heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic pain, hip and knee replacements, back problems, accidental falls, and auto accidents.

If the reason for needing a mobility device is minor or temporary, such as using a cane for a minor ailment or using crutches for a temporary problem, people are more inclined to use the device they require. But many people, especially young seniors, do not want to use mobility aids, especially if the device is medical looking.

Why some people refuse mobility devices

An Ipsos Reid poll found that seniors use mobility devices when they see a direct benefit, preventing falls (28 percent), feeling steady or balanced (24 percent), and needing to use them due to a medical condition (26 percent).

However, this research also showed that mobility aids are not being used by many seniors who would likely benefit from them. For example among those who report a health or mobility issue, only 33 percent currently use a mobility aid (22 percent of all seniors).

For seniors who do not use mobility aids, the vast majority (86 percent) believe they don’t need them. Some seniors believe mobility aids cost too much (22 percent), some find them difficult to handle (16 percent), and some do not like the way they look using a medical device (16 percent).

How Medical Practitioners and Senior Advisors May Help Seniors Choose and Use Appropriate Mobility Devices

When people of any age see a good reason for using a specific mobility device they will use it more willingly than if they can’t see a specific benefit. Not only should seniors (and others with mobility issues) talk to medical professionals about their walking abilities, medical professionals should make a point of asking their clients about what mobility devices they may be using. If a candidate for a mobility device is not using one it may be because they either do not have enough (or any) information on them, or they rely on their medical advisor to recommend a device for them.

If a medical advisor recommends a medical device and explains the specific benefits of using such a device to their client, the client may be more likely to use it. If a medical advisor is able to demonstrate the correct use of a mobility device and what to look for when selecting a mobility device, the client may find it easier and more comfortable to use the most appropriate device for him or her. To ease the burden of cost of a mobility device, the medical advisor could provide the client with information on local, regional and federal government agencies and services to help with the purchase.

Rollator versus Standard Walker

Mario is not alone in turning to a rolling walker for getting out and about. Rollators roll smoothly over the floor or ground and are different from standard walkers (no wheels) that must be lifted with each step.

Rollators offer more mobility to people with reasonable upper body strength and hand agility (ability to use the brakes properly). Someone who wants to get out more will find a rolling walker much easier than a no-wheeled walker. A rollator allows the user to hang on to something for balance and support while maintaining a good walking gait and improved posture.

Using a rollator enables the user to take a break at any time by locking the brakes and sitting on the padded seat. Most Rollators can be customized and accessorized based on the needs of the user and fold so they can be easily stored or transported in a car.

Rolling Walkers Seen as Positive Mobility Aids

Wheeled walkers or rollators were seen as positive devices according to the Ipsos Reid telephone poll. Because properly using a rollator improves walking gait and posture, rollators help the people using them look more active and energetic. Rollators are seen as making people look like they are taking control of their life, not allowing them to be victimized by circumstances or illness.

Attractive devices such as sporty looking rollators – and there are many to choose from – may be more readily accepted by those who need a little help getting outside and resuming the activities they love.