Approximately 4.8 million Americans (70% of mobility device users) walk with a cane, making canes the most widely used mobility devices in the U.S. Canes, however, are not a one fits all device. If you are ever attempted to use a cane and found it difficult, it is likely that cane was not made for your health needs. It is important to spend time and to consider your mobility needs when choosing the right cane.
Consider your mobility
Are you recovering from a surgery and find it difficult to walk even a few steps? Do you only require a little assistance after long walks? There are many different types of mobility issues and your level of mobility matters when choosing the right cane for walking. Approximately 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices like canes to aid their mobility. Yet, many of these Americans are using the wrong height, weight, or type of walking cane.
Always make safety a priority
A walking cane should be used to increase safety. If you find it difficult to take even a few steps with a walking cane, a cane may not be the best mobility device for you. You might want to start out with a wheelchair and then move towards the use of a walking cane. If you are able to successfully use a walking cane but find that you tire during your walk, a cane with seat might be a better option. If you find that your grip on the walking cane is constantly slipping, you might require palm grip canes. In addition to palm grip canes, brass cane handles can also be helpful in reducing slipping.
Get a feel for the weight
Canes that are made out of brass are going to be heavier than wooden or plastic walking canes. If you are unable to lift heavy objects, bringing a brass walking cane with you might not be an option. On the other hand, however, if you require extra support, a plastic walking cane may be too small. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. Some of these adults are using walking canes for assistance, but are not necessarily using the best walking cane for their needs.
Comfort is important
If you find your walking cane to be uncomfortable to use, you are less likely to use it for mobility. This can increase falls and slips and can actually decrease your mobility, over time. It is important that you choose a walking cane that you find to be comfortable. This could mean choosing a different walking cane material or simply changing out the grips. Palm grip canes are ideal for seniors that need a little extra grip but can be too much for those that require only a little extra support. Additionally, many designer walking canes are made for looks, rather than comfort. Although there is nothing wrong with purchasing decorative canes, make sure the cane is also comfortable with palm grip canes or padded seating options.
Millions of seniors deal with mobility issues on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are many mobility devices to choose from that can significantly increase mobility and safety. Although many seniors believe that a cane is a one size fits all type of device, this is not the case. A walking cane should be fitted and sized for the individual and their mobility needs. When shopping for a walking cane, it is crucial that you find the cane to be helpful, safe, comfortable, and that you are able to use it on a daily basis.