Whether you’ve just taken a spill trying to get out of bed or you suffered the embarrassment of falling while walking around outside or have a life long disability, or just want to get fit, you are likely to be asking the question when is it time for a walking cane or rollator walker. Looking and deciding the next step can be confronting, whether to accept the challenge of extra mobility support or deciding from the array of options of walking sticks, canes and walkers.
Even though you may not have suffered serious injuries during this event or any previous falls, the fact remains that you could at any time.
The cold, hard truth is that as your body ages, or due to medical condition or illness, you can start to suffer from changes in balance and stability when walking. So this is often a good time to be thinking about if now is the time for a walking cane.
Deciding the Next Step
Instead of worrying whether others will start looking at you differently, or your own aversion to “looking old”, taking action now could prolong your mobility and independence, especially since it will help prevent additional falls in the future.
Before deciding the next step, look below and you’ll find out what you need to know about these mobility aids so you can make the choice that will help you keep moving for years.
The Real Importance of Mobility Aids
Before you learn more about walking sticks, canes and walkers, it is important that you take a moment to understand just how important they can be for your health and well being. Everyone knows the adage “use it or lose it” and that definitely applies when growing older.
1. Regain Your Confidence
If you’ve fallen, you may be tempted to avoid walking too much so that it doesn’t happen again. However, doing so will only make your situation worse. Since you aren’t using the muscles required for walking, such as those in your legs, back and core, they will continue growing weaker. That means that when you do walk, it will be more difficult and your chances of falling are higher.
2. Health Benefits of Walking An Aid
It is time for a walking cane and deciding the next step of choosing to empower yourself with the appropriate walking and mobility aids can be daunting. However the health benefit will be keeping those muscles strong and will even help them grow stronger if you begin walking more.
3. Increased Social Activity
Additionally, those stronger muscles will make you more sure of yourself and your abilities to get out and enjoy everything life has to offer.
Feel Good And Take a Step Toward a Mobility Aid
Keeping that in mind, understanding why you need to decide to next step and choose an option that will keep you going is easy. Now you just need to choose the right one for your needs 🙂
While some may consider walking sticks and canes as the same thing, they really aren’t. A walking stick, which is essentially a longer pole or stick, isn’t designed to handle your full weight while walking. Instead, you use it at your side to help you maintain your balance – especially when dealing with uneven ground or steps.
A walking stick is longer than a cane, and this can be especially helpful for those who need an extra bit of leverage when dealing with small hills or going from one surface to another that may throw off your balance. Often used for trekking or hiking
Walking sticks are often used for trekking and hiking with new sticks being light weight and adjustable. Walking sticks are becoming popular with nordic fitness walking exercise where cardiovascular levels are raised through using upper body and arms a bit like in cross country skiing.
Generally, if you don’t have an issue with an overly weak leg, or you’ve noticed that your balance just seems to be a bit off or you are asking yourself, when do you know it is time for a walking cane, a walking stick may be the right solution to help you keep moving.
Most people are familiar with canes. They are around waist height and have a curved or L-shaped handle. A cane is made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal and other strong materials.
It is used on the stronger side to provide support for your weaker or injured leg. When walking with it, you bring the cane forward at the same time you take a step with the weak leg, providing added balance and support.
For most people, the cane is one of the first walking aids that they use. Whether due to an injury, balance issues or a weak joint, a cane provides the support you need so you can avoid falling.
If you are someone who has already fallen, but you don’t want to use a cane due to it making you look old, there is only one response – you’ll look much younger walking with a cane than you will if one of your falls results in you needing a walker or wheelchair.
Need More Support With Walkers and Rollators
A walker offers the most support of all walking aids. It has four feet, or in some cases two feet and two wheels, and is used with both hands.
Reasons for Choosing A Walker
In many cases, a community nurse, physiotherapist or your doctor will tell you that you should be using a walker, especially if you’ve just had hip surgery or are recovering from an injury that makes it difficult for one leg to support your weight.
However, there are many other reasons for choosing a walker.
Perhaps you have dizzy spells or shortness of breath.
Maybe you had a stroke or suffer from a condition like multiple sclerosis, arthritis or diabetic neuropathy.
Even slower reflexes can have a major impact on your ability to walk without falling. All of these situations may make a walker the right choice for you.
Some people don’t want to use a walker due to its bulkiness or the fact that they have to use two hands. While these are valid points, walkers have come a long way from those stiff, metal options.
There are some that have a seat built in for dealing with longer walks, and most fold easily so they fit in the car.
There are also smaller, lightweight choices for using indoors, and heavy-duty walkers that can handle rough terrain.
No matter where you walk, there is a walker that will fit your needs and keep you up and moving around.
When is it Time for a Walking Cane?
Now that you understand the differences between walking sticks, canes and walkers, deciding when is it time for a walking cane or walker will be clearer. Then it is about deciding which one will work best for your needs.
If you are still unsure, you will be in a better position to ask questions, speak with your doctor, physiotherapist or health professional to see if he or she has recommendations on which one will provide the support and stability you need. It is also important that you follow any doctor’s orders if you’ve been injured so that you don’t make your situation any worse.
Aging is a natural process does cause some disability, and for some my include further weakness from a medical condition of short duration or life long. This is a great time for a walking cane or stick especially when still active but just needing a little help with balance. If the mobility aid is needed for extra support then a walker or rollator will the device of choice. Choosing the right walking stick, cane or walker for you will make sure you keep your body strong to continue doing the things you love to do.