Using a walker for the first time is a huge inhibition for many users. For many, it means admitting for the first time that it is no longer possible without aids, that aging is just around the corner. It signals weakness. Our encouragers also agree: the first time on the road with a rollator is a very big effort. And yet, in one respect they were all completely surprised after using a walker for the first time. We give you tips on how to overcome your fear of using a walker in public.
Tip 1: Share your fear or shame of using a walker with someone close to you
How does shame arise? Shame is an unpleasant feeling that arises when we do not feel right. We feel different than the others. We suddenly feel that we no longer belong. We can no longer keep up with the speed of walking with others. We can't walk long distances anymore. Our legs just won't keep up. It's frustrating. The interesting thing about shame is that it only exists as long as we keep it to ourselves and try to hide our fears from others. As soon as we confide in someone, the feeling of shame is immediately reduced. Try to share your fears and worries, your shame, with a person you trust. You will see: Just by sharing your worries, a stone will fall from your heart. Now you have an ally who will stand by your side and maybe even accompany you on your first outing with a walker in public. You may also notice that you suddenly feel much more connected to this person than before.
Tip 2: Analyse exactly what your challenge with the walker is - and solve the problem pragmatically
If you are thinking of a walker in public, what is the biggest challenge for you? Make a list of all the topics that come to mind when you think about it. Take your time and try to find a pragmatic solution for each challenge. Here are some examples:
- Rollators are ugly, reminiscent of old age and hospital: Meanwhile there are many different models and even designer models that are far from the previous rollator image. They are available in countless colours and bag variations. Choose a rollator that suits you and with which you feel absolutely comfortable.
- I have a high demand on design and style. A walker-rollator does not fit my image: Meanwhile, rollators behave like cars or bicycles: There are now models with high standards of design and quality. The Carbon Rollator from Saljol, for example, has exclusive cork handles and a unique curved frame design.
- I don't like my rollator: If you can't identify with your rollator, try to embellish it with personal items. There are many users who decorate their walker with lights or flower chains. But beware: Please make sure that the jewellery does not restrict the functionality of the rollator.
- My rollator rattles too loudly when I walk: Do a safety check at your local medical supply store. Think about buying a Premium rollator. These are equipped with all-terrain or pneumatic tyres, which enable a much smoother ride.
Tip 3: Remember an inhibition threshold from the past that you have successfully overcome
No matter whether it was an unpleasant phone call or an exhausting conversation - which inhibition threshold have you successfully mastered in the past? How did you manage that? And above all: What was your feeling when you mastered it? Surely you were relieved in the first place, and perhaps a little proud. Try to remember this great feeling in all intensity. And? Do you notice how you already have a little more courage? Maybe you are already a little more motivated to take your walker for a walk in public. Remember: How did you approach the challenge back then?
We all know from the past that there are many things in life that scare us and at the same time bring something good with them. For example, an oral exam or a job interview, which cause us sleepless nights and at the same time open the door to the next important and good step. We have learned that courage does not mean not to be afraid. Courage means to do something although you are afraid. If you are wondering what next important step to take with a walker: read the next tip.
Tip 4: Make a list of all the benefits you get from the walker
For many people the purchase of a rollator represents a so-called "life change event". These are events that completely change our lives. We know from our previous experience: Nothing is more constant than change. We are still mourning after many pleasant phases of life. And yet: this phase will also have something good in store for us if we are open to it. Try to make a handwritten list of all the positive things that the walker or this phase of life will bring you. We will be happy to give you a few suggestions:
- Walks in the fresh air: sunsets, watching children playing from a park bench, enjoying nature
- Strolling around the city: Just have a look in all the shop windows, browse through bookstores, buy a nice blouse
- Shopping: Load everything that tastes good into the rollator bag, delicious spontaneous purchases instead of lists of things that someone should bring
- Being together with friends and family: going to the playground next door with grandchildren, visiting someone in the hospital, attending family events, going to church
- In our blog article you will learn more about the advantages of a rollator
- Instead of concentrating on safe walking, the next break or support, you suddenly have eyes for your environmentagain.
In all these years you have built up a very special environment. A rollator helps you to participate in this life again. It helps you to maintain your state of health as long as possible. Try to see all these advantages clearly before you when it comes to overcoming the inhibition threshold of using an aid. In the next tip, you will learn how to get started.
Tip 5: Start in a place where you feel comfortable
Try to approach yourself in a small way: Perhaps you will start by inviting your closest friends to your home and showing them your walker. Remember the first tip and share your fears with friends or relatives. Take your walker to a public place that you feel comfortable with for the start. Perhaps a less frequented street or a place where no one knows you. Try to relax. Maybe count slowly to 10, or just concentrate on your breathing. You will soon notice: Nothing happens! Even though you may feel as if you are being stared at - the world just keeps on turning as before.
Tip 6: Observe your surroundings
Observe your environment very closely. Perhaps you will suddenly notice that walkers, just like prams, bicycles or cars, have become part of the normal urban landscape. The fact that you were not as aware of this before as you are now, when you drive a walker yourself, is due to a psychological effect: the principle of selective perception. To prevent our brain from being constantly flooded with all the stimuli from the environment, it only takes up certain aspects of the environment and blocks out others. Since we have not yet come into contact with walkers, our brain has simply blanked out the walkers in the cityscape.
Our encouragers have had an interesting experience. After you all have used an aid for the first time, you realized: The environment suddenly sees you with completely different eyes. Suddenly people proactively make room, they were no longer rushed on the sidewalk when walking slowly. The tool was a statement and brought the necessary consideration.
Our encouraging interviews at a glance
Take a moment, sit on your walker or on a bench. Observe the bustling activity around you. You may suddenly notice how varied your surroundings are: walkers, bicycles, prams, scooters and cars in all shapes and colours. There are so many different ways to make our lives exactly the way that suits us best. It's your decision: Do you let yourself be deterred from using a walker-rollator or do you see it as a chance for new experiences, a bit more mobility, connection and quality of life?
Feel free to write in the comments: How did you design your first rollator ride? Was your first use of a walker-rollator also an inhibition threshold for you? How did it feel afterwards? We would be happy to discuss this topic with you and be inspired.