Falls are a real concern for people with mobility issues, as about two million elderly adults arrive at the emergency room each year for injuries related to a slip or trip. About 50% of these falls occur at home. The problem then is not necessarily tricky steps or an unseen puddle. The solution for elderly adults with mobility issues is to to look into canes and walking sticks. Here’s what to know about choosing the best one.
What Elderly Adults Need to Know to Choose Great Canes and Walking Sticks.
Choosing a good cane or walking stick is not as simple as grabbing one off of a shelf and assuming it will automatically be a perfect fit. They must be fit to the person or there will be some discomfort or even pain. It is important to remember that canes and walking sticks are actually different in the assistance they provide. Getting the correct one will certainly make a difference in a person’s safety as related to mobility issues.
Determining the Right Device For Your Needs.
A cane is meant to be assist with mobility issues, whereas a walking stick is meant to lend a measure of stability while hiking unstable terrain. A walking stick is therefore inadequate if the person is seeking a device to assist with their compromised mobility. If a person requires a cane that can handle most of their body weight, then an off-set four-legged cane is best, as the four feet spread the load evenly to lessen the risk of slippage. Other canes are designed only to provide a third point of contact between the person and the ground. These types are great for unsteadiness or dizziness upon standing, which are two of the most common causes of falls at home.
The Height of the Cane Must Match the Length of Your Arm.
For a proper fit, a cane needs to come to a certain height on one’s body while they are standing upright with their arm at a slight flexion of 20 to 30 degrees. It is best if the person who needs the cane is present while the device is being purchased, however measurements can be taken if this is not possible. Simply measure from the floor to the wrist line of the person, allowing for a half inch in either direction. It is normal to try out several canes and walking sticks before deciding on the right one, as comfort matters but so does the style.
Why Style Matters When Choosing a Cane.
While a cane is a functional device to assist with mobility issues, the style must match that of the user. This is not simply vanity, it actually comes down to encouraging the person to feel comfortable using the cane. If the cane is a style that makes the user feel uncomfortable, they will not want to use it as often as they should. For example, some people may feel uncomfortable with a very plain cane and think it is to medical-looking. On the other hand, some people dislike anything flashy as they believe it draws attention to the fact that they need to use a cane at all. Style matters nearly as much as fit.
If a person requires a device to assist with mobility, it is essential that they find one that is both the right fit and the right style. A cane is meant to increase one’s safety to prevent trips, slips, and falls. It makes sense to find one that fits seamlessly into the person’s life, which will only encourage them to use it often.