Rollators are useful medical equipment that helps people with mild mobility issues for transporting them from one place to another.
Compared to traditional wheelchairs or walkers, rollators are lightweight and so they move easily without requiring a lot of force.
However, since rollators are easily movable, they can get dangerous for seniors. When they sit down and start going to a distance, it is unpredictable when they lose control over the motion and injure themselves.
Luckily, there are brakes that resemble that of a bicycle, and if seniors can learn to use them, they can prevent themselves from potential injury. This guide will tell you how to adjust and lock rollator brakes for the safety of your loved ones.
What Issues Can You Face If You Don’t Adjust And Lock Rollator Brakes?
If you use the rollator regularly, you will find that the brake cable starts to loosen over time. It happens not only in rollators but also in other vehicles, such as bicycles. If the cable isn’t adjusted properly, you won’t be able to engage the brakes whenever you need to, leading to accidents.
For example, you’re heading to the nearest grocery store by staying seated on your rollator. As you get up while having the handlebar as a support, the wheels move backward, and then you fall on the floor.
Using a rollator without adjusting the brakes can be very dangerous to seniors because they have fragile bones. Once they fall, there is a high chance for fractures in the hip, wrist, or pelvis.
It is also essential to lock the rollator brakes, especially when you are going to sit down. Doing so will cause the wheels to stay in place so that you can sit on the seat safely.
Where Are Rollator Brakes Located?
Most rollators have their brakes installed right below the handlebars. These are called loop-lock brakes, and they work in a similar way as a bicycle’s handbrakes. When you hold the grip and squeeze the brake lever, the brake pads located on the rear wheels will slowly put the wheels’ motion to a stop. Seniors will find it easy to apply handbrakes as they are located within their reach.
How To Turn A Rollator By Using Your Brakes?
Rollators feature two individual brakes on both sides which work independently of each other. Pressing the right handbrake will put the right wheel to stop and pressing the left handbrake will put the left wheel to stop. It is also possible to make both wheels stop by pressing both handbrakes at once.
If you want to make a quick right turn, you will need to press the right handbrake and then make a turn. For a quick left turn, you will need to press the left handbrake and then make a turn.
How To Adjust Rollator Brakes?
Although the design of a rollator varies from one model to another, the basic steps for adjusting brakes are similar.
- Locate the brake adjustment nut below the handlebar.
- Take a wrench and use it to loosen the nut.
- If you want to tighten the brakes, turn the brake adjuster clockwise. If you want to loosen them, turn the adjuster counterclockwise.
- Use the wrench to tighten the brake adjustment nut back into place.
If your rollator comes with a manual, it is recommended you take a look at the instructions for adjusting the brakes.
How To Lock Rollator Brakes?
This is crucial to know, especially if you are going to have a seat. Rollators that feature loop-lock brakes require a slight downward push of the brake levers to lock the brake into place. And, to release them, you will need to pull the levers upwards.
How To Replace Rollator Brakes?
If you have a faulty brake cable, it is essential to get it replaced with a new one. Here’s how you can replace it.
- Take a wire cutter and use it to cut the end of the brake cable.
- Loosen the screw that secures the cable using a screwdriver or an Allen wrench. The choice of tool depends on how the cable is secured.
- Lift the brake handle to release the cable. Remove the cable from the brake shoe.
- Gently pull off the brake handle and slide out the brake cable.
- Locate the cap on the brake housing and remove it using pliers.
- Use needle-nose pliers to push the barrel end of the brake cable out of its housing. Pull out the cable from its place.
- Insert a new brake cable through the housing, just like how the old cable was positioned. When the barrel end reaches its place, cover it with the cap.
- Slightly bend an inch from the end of the cable.
- Take the brake handle and insert the cable into the large wheel with the bent part facing downward. Keep pushing until the other end of the cable comes out from under the smaller wheel.
- Insert the cable through the lower hole of the brake housing. Pull the cable until the brake handle fits inside the housing.
- Thread the cable through the cable cover and insert the tip of the cover into the upper tension screw.
- Take the end of the cable and insert it into the lower tension screw. Make sure the tip of the cover fits inside the screw.
- Insert the cable through the brake shoe.
- Turn the upper tension screw eight times in a counter-clockwise direction to unscrew. Skip this step if it is already unscrewed.
- Push down the brake shoe to pull all slack out of the cable.
- Check that the brake handle isn’t locked.
- Push down the brake shoe. Pull the cable and tighten the cable screw using a screwdriver or an Allen wrench.
- Use a wire cutter to cut the cable about two or three inches below the brake shoe.
- Insert a crimp cover on the end and crimp it into place using pliers.
- Bend the cable so that it faces away from the wheel.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why Are There Brakes On Rollators?
Unlike regular walkers, rollators feature brakes under the handlebar for providing safety. It is an essential component because it allows seniors to put the wheel to a stop and lock them so that they don’t get injured.
2. How Much Does The Brake Usually Cost?
Rollator brake cables aren’t expensive. You’ll usually find them for around $20 or less than that.
3. Do You Need A Mechanic For Better Job?
Adjusting the brake cable isn’t a difficult task because you can do it by yourself. However, if you aren’t confident enough to replace the brake cable, it is better to ask a mechanic to do it for you.
The safety of your loved one comes first, which is the reason why you should teach them how to adjust and lock rollator brakes. If you’re using a rollator, and unable to adjust the brakes on your own, make sure to ask for help from someone around you.