Walking canes are great for maintaining and improving stability and balance as a person ages, especially when they’re used properly. Many seniors use canes for support after a knee or hip surgery, but most of them use canes when they experience a decline of mobility.
But how will you know if your senior loved one or patient needs a cane? How can you tell that it is time for them to use a cane? Below are the signs that indicate that it’s time your senior needs it.
1. Joint pains and back pains – If your senior experiences severe joint and back pains while trying to stand or walk, they will prevent them from moving around comfortably. A cane can help in alleviating these pains.
2. Frequent stumbles – If your senior experiences stumbling more frequently than before, it indicates a gradual decline of balance and mobility. If he or she starts to favor one foot over another, the foot that’s used more for walking may have become stressed, while the less used foot continues to weaken. Using a walking cane can lessen the pressure and regain and improve balance.
3. Tiredness – If your senior is often out of breath and more tired than usual even after a short walk, this is where he or she needs a walking cane. As a cane provides support, it makes walking more efficient so that your senior can walk with more ease.
4. Relying on furniture or any other stable object for support – If you find your senior relying more on furniture or any other object for support while trying to stand or walk, it calls for walking cane. It offers great support, especially when walking outdoors when supports are not available.
Before you go out and purchase a cane, it is best to consult with your senior’s doctor or physician to confirm whether this type of mobility aid is an appropriate solution.
What to for look when shopping for a cane?
While walking canes are the lightest and the least cumbersome of all mobility aids, they are designed only to provide balance and mobility. They should not be used for weight-bearing, meaning that they are not to be heavily leaned on.
If a senior needs a mobility aid that can provide weight support, a walking cane is not recommended. But if your senior’s physician otherwise recommends it, it’s time to buy one. The following things are the ones you should look for when buying a cane for your senior patient:
1. Cane height – Height is one of the most important considerations when buying a cane. The height of the cane should fit the patient. If it is too short, your senior will suffer strains as a result of poor posture. If the cane is too long, it won’t provide adequate support.
To ensure the correct cane height, ask your senior to:
– Stand tall with arms comfortably resting to his or her side;
– Wear regular walking shoes.
2. Cane grip – It is also important that the cane should be comfortable for your seniors to grip. Fortunately, most canes today have ergonomic designs for specific conditions, such as grip styles for those with arthritis. They are offset with soft rubber for a comfortable grip or palm or orthopedic for easy handling. Let your senior try a few styles before they find the one that feels the most comfortable.
3. Cane type – Finally, choose a cane type that will suit your senior’s needs. The “single-point” cane is among the most popular and recommended for seniors with mobility issues due to arthritis. A three-point cane may be a better choice for those suffering from neurological disorders, or having injuries or having come from surgery, or having more severe balance impairment.
Your senior should align the cane to the healthier side of the body. It acts as an extension when the weaker side moves forward. The added support will take away the pressure from the more muscular leg and stabilize the weaker foot or leg.
Call the Kerr Medical Team for Your Senior’s Mobility Needs
When you’re looking for mobility aids for your senior loved ones or patients, contact Kerr Medical at 1-888-254-3444 and we would be glad to assist you.