It is a dangerous moment–when a grandmother or grandfather or elderly individual, who has been walking or climbing the stairs or just getting up, starts to wobble. Unfortunately for millions of Americans, that slight wobble can turn into something much more serious–a fall. And that fall has serious health consequences.
Some statistics reveal the prevalence and areas where this takes place:
- One in four older adults falls every year in the United States.
- Among older adults, over 50% of falls take place in the home.
- Every year, over two million senior citizens visit the Emergency Room for injuries cause by a fall.
The causes of these falls can range from unsteadiness and dizziness to responses to physical stimulus and even sudden jolts of pain. That number–two million seniors citizens who visit the Emergency Room every year from injuries sustained in a fall–is better looked at like this: every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall.
Fortunately, there is a solution.
What do the elderly who have falls normally lack? The answer is a more concrete ability to stabilize their body. In other words, a sense of balance.
This is where the mobility device comes in.
4.8 million Americans (or 70% of mobility device users) walk with a cane, making canes the most widely used mobility devices in the United States. Why are canes so popular?
Canes, among other mobility devices, are less expensive. They are simple, coming in different kinds of wood or material, can be placed easily within arm’s reach when sitting down, and provide a less intrusive or obvious mobility device than others.
10.2% of Americans aged 65 or older use a cane.
Unfortunately, the use of a cane or other mobility device is not as prevalent as it could be. According to a recent survey, just under 40% of Americans age 85 or older use mobility devices. With so many older individuals having falls, it makes sense that a cane would be appropriate or even injury preventing when stabilizing the body.
For those looking into getting a cane, the fortunate part is that there are many different options. Some options include the:
- Horse head cane
- Umbrella cane
- Fancy walking canes
- Extra tall canes
- Even the more general walking sticks
Canes are of particular use because older Americans may have other health conditions that interfere with their general well-being. These can include osteoporosis, arthritis, disorientation, heart conditions, even muscle control issues. Because of this issues, falling down and possibly injuring another part of their body becomes more likely than with a younger individual.
Mobility devices, such as canes or walking sticks, can also be used as a way to prevent trips to the hospital. Unfortunately, due to the rising healthcare costs in America, trips to the emergency room have become more expensive in the last ten years. Canes or walking sticks, which can cost as low as $15, save trips to the emergency room and bills that run high.
While only 6.8 million older Americans use canes, it is possible that number will grow higher as people begin to live longer and experience lesser mobility.
And for those thinking about buying canes or walking sticks, please remember that they can come in the style and color of your choosing. Canes in history have not just been a sign of lesser mobility; they are seen as symbols of style as well.