What Is An Upright Walker?

what is an upright walker and why are they better than a standar walker?

Upright Walkers, also called standup rollator walkers, tall mobility walkers, or upright rollators are a clever and sensible design for helping users walk in a safe, secure and supported way. There are many benefits in choosing one of these walkers, better posture, easy to move, easy to transport, lightweight, foldable and the list of benefits goes on. And just like any product, these walkers are avaible in a range of designs and colors. But what is an upright walker and why are they preferable?

Greater Stability And Mobility

They greatly increase the mobility and independence of those with mobility issues, those needing a little balance support and seniors who like to get out and about independently. They are a suitable choice for users with physical health issues such as arthritis, joint issues, post operative recovery and other injuries. They may help reduce the pain in joints, wrists, knees, and back.

Upright Walkers are a different type of rollator you can lean on for support and stability, suitable for outdoor and indoor use. Another plus, many models come with a seat. They are height adjustable and more comfortable for walking, which is so helpful for those who prefer their independence.

Some models are foldable and offer comfortable soft padded armrests that keep the user’s forearms at a natural angle, relieving painful stress on shoulders and backs. 

What Are Sit to Stand Walkers?

Sit to stand walkers for adults are a variation of upright walkers that have another movable frame attached, that unfolds when the user is seated and lowers the height of the walker. When standing up, the new position of the walker can be used to better support a senior who is trying to stand up.

They are a good option for indoor use and for seniors in nursing homes who do not need the assistance of caretakers as much.

Upright Walkers Vs Walkers

 

Main Differences Between Upright Walkers And A Standard Walker

What is an upright walker and how are they different? Upright Rollator Walkers and walkers serve the same purpose but are two completely different pieces of medical equipment. Walkers are a solid metal frame with handles, that the user needs to lift up and move with every step. Some models have 2 wheels at the front, the majority do not have wheels.

Upright Walkers Take The Concept Further

Meanwhile an upright walker takes the concept one step further – it has 4 wheels and is pushed by the user, rather than lifted. Just like normal rollator walkers, a standing walker for adults allows a faster pace and offers a comfortable seat for resting, or being pushed by a loving family member or caretaker.

Most models are foldable and easy to transport. Of course, that is reflected in the price. 

Upright Walker Vs Standard Walkers

This is a good question. The main downside of standard walkers, they restrict their users to a much slower pace than 4 wheel standing walker for adults since they have to be lifted with each step.

Standard Walkers Are Safe But Cumbersome

If the user is experiencing upper back, shoulder, or lower back pain it can aggravate the pain. Despite the fact they are lightweight frames, they are actually quite cumbersome to lift and heave forward for each step taken. In this case, a wheeled rollator would be a more suitable option for the ease they bring users.

Standard Walkers Are Lighter But Don’t Roll

Although most walkers are lighter than rollators, rollators do not need to be lifted and the free rolling 4 wheels makes it much easier to walk faster with less friction and effort while using one. 

Upright Walkers Have A Safe Braking System

Upright rollator walkers provide users with a safe braking system. There are 2 types of braking systems, one being similar to the loop locking brakes on a bicycle  and the other push down brakes. Push down brakes work by the user leaning on them to stop the walker. Walkers do not have any type of braking system.

Ideal Solutions For Extra Stability And Balance

 Seniors simply use these walkers for stability and balance support and to support their weight on it. On the other hand, different kinds of  3 and 4 wheel rollators have dual braking systems at their disposal for a safe trip to the supermarket, to a friend’s house, or take a pleasant stroll on a sunny afternoon.

Loop Locking Brakes

The brakes on most rollators are called loop-locks and are very similar to the ones you could find on a bicycle. It is a simple, yet efficient braking system using cables to apply pressure on the brake pads on the rear wheels of the rollator.

Brakes Are Located On Top Of The Handlebars

Most often the hand-brakes are positioned on the top of the rollator’s handlebars. Upright walker brakes can be locked into position and it is safest to do so before using the seat to sit on. Otherwise the walker can scoot away, depositing you on the ground. On most models, you can lock the brakes by pushing down the lever of the rear brakes.

The majority of rollators have a comfortable seat, in which the seniors can sit, and while they rest, so anyone, even children could offer them assistance by pushing the rollator. 

Check The Upright Walker Is Foldable

Due to the solid design of the walker frame to support the weight of its user, not all upright walkers are foldable which makes them harder to transport than your traditional rollator walkers. Make sure you check the specifications of your brand before buying if you need a foldable upright walker.

Upright Rollator Walkers:

Pros:

Cons

Walkers

Pros:

Cons

Who should not use an upright rollator walker?

For those with increased mobility problems, maintaining balance on their own, need extra support, or find it difficult to stand but want to walk, a traditional walker is most likely to be a safer option in comparison to an upright or rollator walker for optimal stability and security.

The traditional designs of rollators walkers are a better choice for those who can maintain balance but need to rest from time to time and can take advantage of the comfortable seat they offer. 4 Wheeled rollators are preferred if the user is experiencing weakness in their arms and would have a hard time lifting a standard walker. 

How to use a walker correctly and why is the correct use so important?

what is an upright walker and why are they better than standard walking frames for people

How To walk With A Standard Walker

To use a walker correctly its user should lift it and move it forward without changing the position of their feet at the same time. After placing the walker back on the ground in a stable position, the senior can make two steps forward and repeat the process until they reach their destination. It is not safe for them to move their feet and lift the walker at the same time because they can lose balance and fall over the walker.

The correct use of an upright walker allows the senior to prop their weight on the walker and prevents them from hunching forward while walking. 

How To Stand Up With A Walker

To start, push yourself up from the armrest of the chair or from the bed to a standing position. Right after, place your grip firmly on the two sides of the walker’s handles. Afterward, move the walker in front of you a short distance. 

Make the first step with your weaker or injured leg. Keep the weight balanced on the other leg and put weight on your hands, holding the walker. Make sure you keep your legs within the boundaries of the walker.

To turn safely with a walker, make small steps within the boundaries of the walker towards the direction you would like to face.

How To Prevent Falling

To prevent falling with a walker, before starting to walk, make sure the walker is in an overall good condition. This means the rubber tips of the bottom of each leg to be safe and sound and in place. Furthermore, the frame should be stable and without any moving parts.

After you have already made sure that the walker is usable, avoid walking on rugs or waxed floors, as well as any wet or slippery surfaces. 

To achieve a better balance while using a walker, wearing low-heeled shoes is recommended for much better support and a lower center of mass. 

The correct height of handgrips

To make sure that the handles are in the best position for comfortable use and weight-bearing on a upright walker, handle height should be around elbow height when the user is standing and their arms are bent at right angles from the elbow.

This way the users forearms can comfortably rest in, or on the armpads or troughs, allowing for weight bearing without straining the shoulders.

It’s important to adjust the height of the handles as soon as possible to prevent the user from forming the habit of walking in a hunched position.

Types of Rollators, Materials, and physical specifics of their parts

Rollator Transport Chair

Walker Rollator

3 Wheel Walker

There are different models of rollators that can be with 3 or 4 wheels and with smaller or larger wheels, depending on their designated use. 3 wheel rollators are suitable for people who need less support. While 4 wheeled ones provide extra comforts such as seats, backrest, and armrests.

4 Wheeled rollators with larger wheels are designed for outdoor use but can be used indoors in open spaces. They are very stable and have a seat.

Rollator transport chairs combine the best of rollators and wheelchairs. These dual purpose rollator and transport chairs can double as a wheelchair, or used as a rollator.

Bariatric walker rollators are specially designed walkers with reinforced frames and wheels capable of supporting weights up to 600lbs

3 Wheeled rollators are usually lighter and fold faster, and more often do not have a seat. Some models come with an attached bag that can be used for groceries or to carry around useful items.

All models offer the option to adjust the height of the handlebars. The right height helps the user’s posture to remain upright, without bending forward to reach lower handlebars. 

Materials and weight of Rollator frames

Most advanced rollator models use frames made out of either extruded anodized aluminum or carbon fiber and aluminum, allowing the rollator to remain light-weight while being durable and strong enough to withstand up to 300 pounds. Some older models simply use metal tubes but are heavier.

Aluminum frames offer a good mixture of sturdiness and light-weight materials. Both qualities should should be taken into consideration when choosing a rollator.

Types of Rollator Wheels And Their Sizes

Rollators usually come with solid rubber or air-inflated wheels. Rubber ones are the standard choice and are a great option for even surfaces, whereas air wheels are good on uneven surfaces and mainly for outdoor use.

Larger wheel sizes are usually preferred as they can go through holes and cracks without stopping the user’s movement. Rollators with 10” front wheels roll smoothly both indoors and outdoors and are not easy to tip over. They usually come with a reliable dual-braking system.

Types of handgrips and materials

A Rollator’s handgrips are most often made out of durable plastic or rubber. Plastic ones are easier to break by force but withstand friction better, whereas rubber ones are hard to break and provide a better non-slippery grip but are more vulnerable to friction. 

The preferred type of handgrips should be injection-molded polypropylene of grade 2340PC, which is a standard for a balanced option of handgrips, durable to both friction and force and with an overall firm grip.

Forearm Troughs

Forearm troughs are the padded or molded parts placed on top of the handlebar of  standup rollators. They provide a secure and comfort pad for users to rest their forearms on as it enables them to shift some of the weight toward their elbows when they support themselves on the standup rollator.

Are upright walkers as safe as a normal rollator walker Or Walker Frame?

Upright walkers offer seats, brakes and locked brakes as your normal rollator walkers do. Unlike standard walkers however, upright walkers’ users do not need to lift them with every second step which can be overwhelmingly tiring for users. A recent university study concluded that standard walker users tend to get tired much faster than rollator users and on average their walks are shorter-distanced.

Another downside, standard walkers don’t have seats so the user can rest or someone else to push them. A tired senior is much more likely to fall than a rested one, therefore following this reason rollators are more suitable for people who would tire more often.

Whereas upright walkers offer a seat and are basically the same as a 4 wheeled rollator walker for comfortable walking out and about and using at home.

 Is the upright walker covered by Medicare?

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers walkers and rollators, in cases in which they are medically necessary to the user. They fall are under the category of DME (Durable medical equipment).

To be medically necessary means that they are needed to treat or help recover from a medically diagnosed injury, disease, or their symptoms. Medical Insurance would usually cover the costs for a rollator or walker when they are prescribed by a doctor to the user.

If the supplier of the medical equipment agrees to accept assignment, you will pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount. Medicare pays in different ways, sometimes the equipment will be rented, instead of bought for the user. Sometimes the user would have a choice to either buy or rent the equipment. This depends on whether the senior will need the equipment for long or if they will be using it until the injury is healed.

What are the best stable walkers for balance problems?

It is difficult to categorize balance problems as they vary widely. Ideally the choice of upright walkers or rollator walkers you choose should be influenced by your needs in combination with other physical difficulties.

Usually, walkers without wheels are more stable than walkers with wheels or rollators without locked brakes. The downside, such walkers are less maneuverable than rollators and harder to use in the long run.

If the upright walker or rollator has a brake locking system, it is as stable as a metal-framed walker.

If the user is experiencing balance issues but does not need to put a lot of weight on the walker, 4 wheeled tall mobility walkers are a good option. 

For seniors who are recovering from strokes or surgery, rollator walkers are a better option, as they offer a lower center of gravity, a seat for rest and have a reliable braking system.

What Accessories are available for an upright walker?

Upright walkers can be accessorized to meet most of peoples needs. Accessory hooks for shopping bags or jackets can be attached to the handlebars of the walker, as well as walker bags with straps. 

Snap-on walker baskets are a good idea for shopping, as well. There is a wide variety of accessories such as attachable hooks, key-holders, cup-holders, and smartphone or cell-phone holders for the more modern senior citizens.

There are also many options for walker trays, which can be used to serve breakfast or medications for elderly people in the comfort of their homes or at nursing homes.

What Is An Upright Walker, Is This The Best Walker For You?

Regardless of your level of mobility, choosing a mobility aid that offers stable support, is easy to use and transportable goes a long way to helping you retain a comfortable and independent lifestyle. While many types of rollator walkers offer freedom and independence, the benefits of upright walkers can be helpful to many people with changing personal or medical needs.

The good news is that upright walkers are designed with adjustable feature to help you as your needs change. We enjoyed sharing our thoughts on what is an upright walker and maybe you might like to explore the benefits for you.

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