The ancient Romans perfected the design and manufacture of chariots for their warriors. The modern back-pain industry has perfected the design and manufacture of the walking aid for the Golden Aged Walking Impeded. You see these seniors everywhere leaning on their three- or four-wheelers with the cable-brakes. The modern walker, now officially called a “Rollator”, also has a shopping basket on the front and a seat for the emergency “must sit down” moment. These devices are so convenient and easy to use that they are seen everywhere, from supermarket aisles to theater aisles.
Here in the retirement home they have become the walker of choice. Every day there is a new design to be seen in the showroom – read coffee lounge. Rollators come in aluminum, steel, Bariatric steel and maybe even carbon fiber. There are new colors and a whole range of optional extras. You can get one with or without brakes, a small or large basket, upholstered or plain seat. As this industry gets onto its feet (!) no doubt there will soon be walkers with headlights, tail lights and brake-lights for the nocturnal amblers among us.
A brief look at the internet shows that already the range includes Standard Walkers, Folding Walkers, Front Wheeled Walkers, Bariatric Walkers, Hemi Walkers, and Knee Walkers to name a few. I had to look up the word Bariatrics; it is a medical specialty that focuses on causes, treatment and prevention of obesity.
Prices range from about $80 for the plain 3-wheeler to hundreds of dollars for the fully loaded 4-wheel drive job with the 3-speed gearbox, stereo set and red racing stripes down the sides. In many ways this industry is following the development of the skateboard industry. Soon the upscale retirement homes will be building special amenities for the new vehicles. I would not be surprised to find a half-pipe in our coffee lounge, where the athletic among us can show off their latest tricks.