I have a chronic problem with leg pain and weakness which causes me difficulty walking. It has been progressing very slowly over the last 25 years. Over the last 5 years the problem had progressed to the point where it was severely restricting my activity so I finally made the momentous decision to buy a modern wheeled walker, sometimes called a “rollator.” I am writing this article from my first hand experience as the proud owner and operator of a “rollator.”
It has changed my life! I should have bought it 5 years earlier. What a change that would have made in my quality of life! Despite my chronic leg pain and weakness I now enjoy activities I have not really enjoyed in years.
I don’t believe people who have no problem walking, realize all the emotions that are involved in making the decision to buy a walker.
In my younger days I thought people who used walkers were “on their last legs.”. (Please pardon the pun.) I thought a walker was something you used when you could not walk without it. That shows how little I knew. I believe that even today, almost everyone, people who use walkers and people who observe people using walkers, still have the wrong philosophy and ideas about the use of walkers.
The people I observe using walkers do appear to really need them and seem to move around with a lot of difficulty. I believe most observers view the users as semi-invalids, who would be in real trouble without the walkers. I believe the people who use the walkers know that they are commonly viewed as semi-invalids and that is why they wait and buy a walker only when they absolutely must have one. They wait because most of them really detest being viewed as semi-invalids, especially the men.
Why do I believe these things? Because I observe people’s reactions and I must regretfully say that I have at times held those identical opinions.
My rollator, shown in the picture above, has 4 wheels, with brakes on the rear wheels to keep it from running away while going downhill. It has a wire basket for carrying small packages while shopping. Covering the basket is a hinged padded seat and a padded backrest. No more looking for a bench in a crowded mall when your legs are tired. Just pull to the side out of the traffic, lock your emergency brakes to give the walker stability, and sit down for as long as you wish.
Ten years ago I could walk and play 18 holes of golf but my legs would be completely exhausted when I finished. About eight years ago we started riding in a golf cart all the time. We would go to the county fair one time annually and I would walk over the whole fair with increasing difficulty each year. I now admit that because of that I actually dreaded going to the fair
I was restrained from buying a walker, when I really needed one, by my illogical ego and the fear of being viewed as a semi-invalid. Recently I reached the belated decision that I had caused myself a lot of unnecessary pain and anguish by delaying a decision I should have made 5 years ago.
After buying my rollator, I went to the county fair twice this year and actually enjoyed it for the first time in years. I can now enjoy going for hour-long walks of over a mile in length. I enjoy going to the mall. I plan to go the Ohio State-Navy football game this year and won’t dread the long walk from the parking garage to the stadium.
My primary purpose for writing this article is to encourage you individuals, who are still strong and energetic enough to take full advantage of the added stability afforded by a modern walker, to honestly examine your reasons for not having one. With a prescription from your doctor, Medicare will pay most of the cost. You will be able to walk much faster and farther than you have in years.. You will lose your fear of falling, which alone is a reason for buying it. I fervently ask you, why let your ego punish you severely by depriving you of some of life’s most enjoyable experiences? However, I do recommend buying one with extra large front wheels. It will make navigation over a rough terrain much easier.
Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional. This article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this article is not to give medical advice. I am only relating my experiences. Always seek advice from a doctor or healthcare professional before making any healthcare decisions.