Does Your Parent Need a Cane for Safe Mobility?


Canes and walking sticks

If not for the two or three wooden canes that were laying beside some of the chairs you might not have guessed the age of the women in the room. The reason that age is not anything noticed by visitors who come to the church basement on Monday mornings is because the whole space is full of bright fabrics, large tables, and laughter. Lots of laughter. In fact, sometimes the laughter and the conversation is so intense someone who did not know better might make the mistake of thinking that the group was not getting anything done.
Sounds and sights, however, can be deceiving. For in this room on Monday mornings, quilters of all ages gather to tie quilts for a variety of charities. From colorful blankets that high schoolers and their sponsors take to give as gifts on the their work camp sites every summer to the quilts that are donated to city wide and international projects, the women in the room, both the one with and without the wooden canes, are on a mission. They have a quota to meet and while many things get done on these Monday mornings that everyone sees, many of these quilters also take fabric home to cut into squares or take already cut squares home to be pieced into quilt tops.
Wooden Canes, Walking Sticks, and Folding Canes Allow for Both Stability and Convenience
Falls are a problem for many people. From quilters to golfers and from elderly who are still living at home to those who are in nursing homes, falls are a danger. They lead to small inconveniences and large injuries and, in some cases, can lead to death. Making a decision sooner rather than later to start using a cane can provide the balance that many people need to avoid serious problems down the road. Fortunately, the choice of walking aids is no longer a simple choice of selecting between different shades of standard wooden canes. Walking aids as varied as horse head canes, canes with seats, and carbon fiber canes provide those in need of assistance to select a tool that is both functional and provides individuality.
Having a discussion with a spouse, sibling, parent, or grandparent about using a walking aid can sometimes be difficult. If, however, you present the facts about the frequency of falls that both cause injury and prevent activity, you might be able to have a better conversation. The freedom that being able to get around should outweigh the danger of having to spend time in a hospital or nursing home recovering from a fall in the home.
Consider some of these statistics about the frequency of fall and the implications that they can have:

  • 25% older adults in the U.S. fall every year.
  • 50% of all falls for older adults take place at home.
  • 2 million senior citizens visit the emergency room for injuries caused by a fall every year.
  • Dizziness or unsteadiness when standing up or walking are the two most common causes of falls in the elderly.
  • An older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall every 11 seconds.
  • 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices like canes to aid their mobility.
  • 40% of Americans over the age of 85 use mobility devices.
  • 10.2% of Americans over the age of 65 use a cane.
  • 70% of mobility device users, which represents 4.8 million Americans, walk with a cane, making canes the most widely used mobility devices in America.
  • 22.3% of cane indicate that osteoarthritis is the main cause of their limited mobility.

You cannot go to your weekly quilting meeting at church if you are recovering in a hospital bed from a dangerous fall. You cannot meet your friends on the golf course if you are in a wheelchair recovering from a fall at home. The decision to use a mobility device does not have to mean that you will be limited in your activities. In fact, the decision to use a mobility device can provide the stability that you need to continue a safe and more active lifestyle.
Are you ready to have the necessary conversation with your loved one about the use of a cane to provide both balance and stability? A proactive conversation today might be easier than a reactive conversation tomorrow.

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