Choosing the Right Walking Stick or Cane for the Elderly

As you age, you may notice that your stability is beginning to waver. If you have had a few balance scares while walking, then it may be time to get a walking stick or a cane. While they are not always the most aesthetically pleasing accessories, they can help keep you safe and healthy as you walk. Walking Sticks or Canes are one easy way to support yourself while you walk. You may need to use them on rough terrain or on an everyday basis. If you are starting to notice that you are having difficulties walking, are growing dizzy while you walk, or have fallen, then follow these tips to determine how to choose the right walking stick or cane for your needs.

The first thing you should take into consideration when choosing a walking cane or stick is the style of the cane. In total, there are four different style types.

Crook Cane

The Crook Cane is by far the most popular cane on the market today. It is shaped like a “C”, and is usually made out of wood, however in today’s market there are many metal crook canes as well. Crook canes have very curved handles that are easy to grip onto, and are easy to travel with. They are very portable, extremely inexpensive, and are very easy to use. Crook canes are also usually easy to store and can double as a reaching tool. You can simply flip the crook cane around so that you can use its handle as a grabbing tool.

Center Balance Cane

Center Balance Canes are designed specifically for people who need a lot of support while they walk. They have special handles on them that arc upwards and then flatten completely so that its users can grip onto them easily. Due to their ease of use, people who have Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, joint problems, or muscle issues will find center balance canes the best option for them. Most center balance canes are very lightweight because they are made from light metals such as aluminum. They are also adjustable to different heights in order to provide you with more or less support.

Parrot Head Cane

Parrot Head Canes, or Knob Canes, are canes in which the handle is decorative. These canes are good for decoration and for providing a fun accessory to your daily outfit, but they are not very supportive. Instead, they are used more for decoration than support. If you only need a little bit of support when you walk, then parrot canes are a great option for you, especially if you love to accessorize. They can run quite expensive though, depending on their decoration.

Quad Cane

Quad canes are types of canes that have three of four separate feet on their ends. These canes are very supportive, and offer the most support of any of the types of canes. They are great for people who have severe walking issues, or who have muscle and joint diseases that prevent them from walking easily. These canes prices based on their material, height, and number of feet.

The next thing you need to think about is cane material. There are wooden and metal canes. Metal canes provide a greater feeling of support for most people, because they are virtually impossible to break. Wooden canes however, will offer some flexibility and will still provide you with adequate support. Wooden canes may splinter thought overtime, and you could have to replace them more often than metal canes. Metal canes can also often be adjusted in order to fit your height and frame. Wooden canes must be cut down and sanded in order to adjust their height.

The next thing you should take into consideration is the height of the cane. Different cane heights can provide you with different levels of support. To truly find the right height, you may have to go to a medical supply store and get measured. However, you can also try out a few canes for yourself to determine which height you desire best.

Choosing the right height for your cane will begin with you standing up straight. Next, bend your dominant arm at a 30 degree angle at your elbow. The cane should just hit your wrist with your arm bent in this manner. If your cane is higher than the top of your wrist, then the cane is too high and you should look for a shorter one. Too tall canes will not provide you with support and could put you at risk for falling. If your cane is too short, then you will have to bend over to use it properly, and that could cause back, neck, arms and legs pains in the long run.

Canes should really be thought of as a third leg in order for you to feel supported properly. If they are not the right height, or if they are not the right type then they can provide little support and actually harm you instead of help you. For this reason, it is vital that you follow these tips when choosing a cane for yourself or for an elderly relative. Also, talk to your doctor about canes in order to get their opinion. They may be able to prescribe a certain type of cane for you that will give you the best results and support for your medical issues. Overall though, the best tip is to feel comfortable with your cane. When choosing one, be sure to try out many different types in order to find one that is perfect for you.

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