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Walking Canes – What you need to know.

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Did you know that ten percent of American adults age 65 and older experience limited mobility and use walking canes to get around? If you or a loved one needs a mobility aid or cane, it’s best that you get the facts prior to purchasing.

Is a walking cane right for me or my loved one?

A walking cane provides support to individuals with limited mobility. Some seniors need a walking cane instead of a walker or rollator. An assistive cane not only helps the individual get around with added support, it also assists with getting up from furniture. It also helps the individual to support his or her weight on one or both legs. Before making a final purchase decision, consult your family physician or physical therapist to determine what type of mobility aid is best for you or your loved one.

What should I look for when purchasing an assistive cane?

When it comes to your loved one’s walking cane design style, durability and shape and size absolutely matter. Various types of materials are used to make assistive canes. Standard or straight canes are made from aluminum or wood. This type of cane is budget-friendly, lightweight, and oftentimes adjustable in height (aluminum material, not wood).

Keep in mind that the material must be weight-bearing and able to support the full weight of its user. Offset canes distribute the user’s weight over the cane’s shaft, which should be about half the height of its user. For individuals experiencing osteoarthritis in the knee or hip, this may be a great option.

The bottom of any assistive cane must be capped by rubber tips. The four-legged quadripod cane is best for individuals who will bear more weight on their cane than most other mobility-challenged persons.

There are so many canes to choose from-does it matter what kind of handle my cane has?

Although there are many standard assistive cane designs, your loved one’s walking cane must be designed to fit his or her needs. Because every human hand is different and requires different grip support, walking canes must be designed with a comfortable, ergonomic handle that is personalized to the user. There are two standard walking cane handles most seniors and persons with limited mobility choose: the “candy cane” (or crook) handle and the T-shape handle.

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