As Bette Davis famously said, “Getting older ain’t for sissies.” There’s plenty of wonderful things that come with getting older — retirement, grandchildren, to name just a couple — but also people tend to become more aware of issues with their health. One thing that many elderly struggle with is balance, but might refuse to use a walking stick, cane, or walker to help aid with stability and balance, as those items are often associated with aging. And often, admitting that you’re older and need assistance, can be a thorn in one’s side. However, these can ultimately improve mobility and quality of life — and who says canes can’t be hip? There are plenty of decorative walking canes, elegant walking canes, and fancy walking canes on the market to satisfy even the pickiest heart.
What’s the Big Deal With Balance?
One in four of the elderly fall annually in the United States and every 11 seconds, someone is seen in the emergency room because of a fall. Over half of these falls usually take place at home, accounting for two million senior citizen visits to the emergency room for injuries that come from a fall. Two of the most common causes are unsteadiness or dizziness when the older person stands up or walks. Slick surfaces — such as icy or wet surfaces — are also a common cause of falls among the elderly.
Broken bones — especially broken hips — are a huge result of falling among the elderly, as their bones tend to be frailer, and it takes a significantly longer time for them to heal from a broken bone caused by a fall. It can have a major impact on their quality of life and independence.
How Can I Pick the Right Mobility Device For Me?
Almost seven million Americans use assistive devices — such as canes or walkers — to help them get around. Just under 40% of the elderly population over the age of 85 use mobility devices. The device of choice seems to be a cane, with almost five million Americans walking with the aid of a cane. That’s 70% of mobility device users.
A cane can be a good choice if you only need limited assistance — and you can find some lovely decorative walking canes or wooden canes for a touch of flair as well! If you only need to support a little of your weight (25% or under) on a mobility device, a cane is probably fine, especially if your stability issues aren’t too severe. A quad cane, with four tips that form a square at the bottom can be used in place of single tip canes for even more support.
If you need to rest 50% or more of your weight on a device, have medium to bad balance or walking problems, or are generally weak in both legs, looking into a walker is the right way to go. Wheeled walkers require less energy to be picked up and moved forward, making them an ideal option for the much more frail.
Where Can I Find Decorative Walking Canes?
There are plenty of retailers who offer fashionable, decorative walking canes. With the Internet, you now may be able to even customize them yourself! The options are also much broader with the Internet and you can view different merchants, price points, and styles with a simple online search.
If you’re looking for something a bit more handcrafted, many specialty or boutique stores often carry handmade or handcrafted items, and you may find your ideal walking cane there! If you have lots of local artisans in your area, stopping by a gallery or store that showcases their work could be a great bet. Walk with more pep in your step and pizzazz with your decorative walking cane!
Mobility devices ultimately will provide the elderly with more range of motion and keep them doing their day to day activities with a reduced risk of falling. They can maintain their independent lifestyle, but feel more confident and assured in their steps with the help of a cane or walker.