Walk or Ride? Use or Save? Do it all with Rollz!

By Jolene Montgomery

WWe've all seen rollators that have a seat. Some even have a strap that doubles as a backrest when the user is sitting down to rest. Rollz is not that, this is another world all together.

Is it a Rollz Rollator or Wheelchair?

Is it a Rollz Rollator or Wheelchair? It's both!

The inventors of the Rollz faced an epiphany while visiting a nursing home in the Netherlands. At the entrance of the care home, they saw hundreds of wheelchairs and walkers lined up, waiting for their users. 
"Our CEO is also a lead-designer who studied Human Movement Sciences," Rollz' Marketing Manager Oana Popoiu tells me. I had the pleasure of meeting this smart and dynamic woman over Zoom, while researching the best mobility devices for the upcoming LA Abilities Expo. I've had my eye on the Rollz for its sleek and stylish design, multiple sexy colors and add-ons, but as I talk to Oana I learn much, much more. This is a game-changer.

I ask Oana about how and who invented the Rollz. You can see the respect and admiration on her face as she describes the inventor and CEO.

Couple with Rollz Chair

"It was during a university research project for mobility that he was visiting some care homes. There at the entrance he saw hundreds of medical devices, all lined up and redundant. This is where the initial idea came from, 'Why have so many products when you can have one transform from walker to wheelchair and adapt its functionality to the user's needs?'"

It is safe to say that no one wants to use a wheelchair, walker or other mobility device. The image conjured up by these assistive devices is that of someone old, incapable of independence, no matter how incorrect that may be. Users' stories on the Rollz website say it clearly: "I'm still me. I'm just me, but different. Not better or worse."

Woman with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome diagnosis gets the Rollz rollator to match her style

Bonnie was born with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), but the doctors didn't put the puzzle pieces together until she was 28. Before she became too ill to work, Bonnie was a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant.

Bonnie with Rollz Chair

"I very rarely see representation of young people with disabilities in the media, and when I do, they are always portrayed as sad, lonely, bitter characters. This is obviously not reality. There are millions of vibrant, talented, gorgeous, intelligent disabled people on this planet. AND WE SHOULD BE SEEN. I can be disabled and still wear fabulous clothes. Why not? I didn't lose my fun fashion sense when I became ill. I'm still me. I'm just me, but different. Not better or worse."

Modular strategy and design eliminates need for replacement mobility devices

Rollz has carefully thought out the impact their product makes on the world. Rather than make another medical device that sells for $100 and is clogging a landfill in a year, Rollz planned carefully for sustainability from the beginning.

"Everything is modular." Oana instructs me, her eyes sparkling with excitement. "We plan so that people won't need to change their mobility device as their condition changes over time. People dance, climb, walk their dogs and travel all with their Rollz. Then, as they need the assistance of a wheelchair-type product, they just snap on the wheelchair mods and can be transported in their Rollz that way."

Rollz with App

In one glowing review, a Rollz user frankly states that her one complaint is that she isn't able to push herself once she's put the Rollz in wheelchair mode. Rollz is listening!

"Within the next month we will have an electric kit on the market that transforms your existing Rollz into a power wheelchair. Once again, we are planning for sustainability—you don't have to buy a new Rollz, the power package can be added to your existing product." Oana's brow furrows and she looks suddenly worried. "The only problem right now is that we can only produce so many, and the ones we have are already pre-sold to existing Rollz owners! It's a good problem to have…" she trails off then snaps back"…but there will be more!"

Bonnie leverages her Rollz to adapt her dance to her disability

As you read the stories from current Rollz users, you can feel the life-changing aspects of the product like it did for a woman, also named Bonnie, who has returned to her life as a dancer.

"I started practicing in front of the mirror with my Rollz Flex as support and quickly noticed how small its turning radius is. I could also easily step aside it because the rollator does not have anything that stays in your way. Even some quick waltz steps with a lot of turns worked out. And instead of the barre at the wall I used the pushing bar of the Rollz Flex for support. I could dance again," Bonnie said.

Looking back on her hesitation to use a rollator she says, "I was prejudiced against rollators. Just as I was about our current seniors' apartment. I thought I didn't belong there, I didn't see myself as a senior (even though I am) and now I enjoy living there. "

Add-ons customize your Rollz for bumpy terrain, Parkinson's disease and more

One of the first add-on mods that Rollz developed is the Rollz Motion with pneumatic tires. The addition of these tires enables the user to go off road and on bumpier terrain with comfort.

Soon after, they developed the Rollz Motion Rhythm, a rollator walker meant for people living with specific neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease. The Rhythm is another add-on module that provides three different external stimuli: vibrations in the handles, beeps in a certain rhythm and a laser line on the ground. These external cues stimulate people with Parkinson's disease to overcome a moment of freezing and help to get into a better walking pattern. The cues may also be useful in case of other neurological conditions that lead to rigidity. Once again, you don't throw away your previous—you add on what you need as your life evolves.

In their showroom in the Netherlands, Oana sees users who have used their Rollz for a decade, continuing to upgrade as modular improvement become available.

"Recently we had someone visiting our showroom that has one of the first Rollz rollators—it is amazing to see how durable it is!" Oana tells me proudly.

How Rollz swivels into Rollator

"She had the Rollz for about 7 years before she upgraded to the air tires. Now she is upgrading to the power package. Her initial investment has more than paid off and she is proud that she hasn't polluted our environment with old parts.

"We are always thinking of improvements. The boxes we are shipping to the LA Abilities Expo have been redesigned to save space and materials. The boxes are now in the shape of a "T", easier to fit on a pallet, easier to pack and unpack."

What's next for Rollz?

"Now we are coming to the United States! We have a warehouse in California and our plan is to have at least one dealer in each state, where people can try our rollators. We are currently looking, but we aren't trying to hurry. It is important to find the right dealers.

"You are a big place over here." She smiles. "We need the right partners, that understand our mission to help people continue an active and independent lifestyle."

Come try the Rollz rollators yourself in booth #448 at the Los Angeles Abilities Expo on March 10-12. You can visit their website at rollz.com.

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