Does Your Parent’s Cane Fit?
Lucite, metal, wood. Curved handle, straight handle, cushioned handle. Just any cane is not a solution. How many older people do we see with poor posture as they walk with their cane? Can this do damage?
Three reasons for a properly-selected cane
1. While a cane should add stability and confidence, isn’t it logical that an improperly fitted cane can shift weight incorrectly, potentially leading to other problems.
2. A cane coupled with poor posture makes people look even older and more helpless. It invites being treated in a way that diminishes independence and self-esteem.
3. The “right” cane is usually not that expensive, but pays big dividends when it enables aging parents to walk properly. Thus having qualified people involved in cane selection makes sense, but doesn’t necessarily happen.
Sr. Advisor R (now fully recovered from her broken hip), needed to order a cane–before leaving rehab last January–to use at home. R knew which cane was right for her–based on trying an assortment of canes in physical therapy, having the physical therapist’s approval, and her comfort level which included a comfortable grip. Unfortunately it was not among the assortment of canes brought by the salesman who visited the rehab facility. It could be ordered but that would take time and R was being discharged within a few days. So she rejected the salesman’s canes, thinking it important to continue with a cane she knew worked well for her.
The rehab center personnel checked the local surgical supply company, learned the cane R wanted wasn’t in stock, gave us the manufacturer and model #, and offered to loan R the cane she had been using until her new one arrived.
Amazon.com to the rescue! As I recall, Medicare covers the cost of 1 cane, but perhaps it must be ordered in rehab or from the surgical supply store. Ordering the exact cane from Amazon was simple, less expensive (in the $20 range as I recall), and came within a few days.
For people who want cane-selection knowledge, Mayo Clinic’s site offers excellent information: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/canes/HA00064. An old NY Times article http://www.nytimes.com/1992/04/18/news/staying-upright-choosing-a-cane-that-fits-right-and-feels-right.html discusses problems that can result from improperly fitted canes.
While cane style is no longer limited to your grandparents’ old design, selecting the proper cane and grip remains predicated on certain measurements and one’s requirements. Properly fitted canes give aging parents the best chance for healthy mobility…another important factor in helping parents age well.
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You might also want to check out “How to Buy a Cane” http://www.ehow.com/how_2050245_buy-cane.html
Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities and respected professionals, plus practical information–to help parents age well.