Whether an aging adult’s balance and unsteadiness are temporary or permanent, a cane or walker can help prevent a dangerous slip and fall accident. However, family caregivers should not just go out and buy a walker or cane without consulting with a physical therapist or similar medical professional. Canes and walkers are not the same thing and caregivers should work with a medical professional to see what works best.
Who Needs a Cane?
Canes are lightweight, versatile and quite portable. They are designed to support one side of the body and assist elderly adults that may be a little unsteady when walking. Canes only support up to a quarter of a person’s body weight, so they primarily provide stability to those that are only mildly to moderately unbalanced.
There are several types of canes that an elderly person can use. The traditional cane has the rounded handle and single point. They provide minimal aid and just act as additional support for those that struggle with mild mobility issues. The vertical grip cane supports the elderly person a little more and reduces strain on the hand and wrist. A quad cane splits at the bottom into four legs for added stability. These canes are a little heavier but help people that need more support. They can also support more weight than the other cane styles.
Canes are just right for those that want some additional support when walking. There are a few drawbacks to a cane, such as if the elderly person needs more support overall. Canes are not very stable and if an aging adult is not holding it properly it can contribute to hand and wrist pain, as well as cause a slip and fall accident. For many seniors, however, a good cane is just what they need to walk around with a little extra support.
Who Needs a Walker?
Walkers come in two styles, those with wheels and those without. Walkers provide more support than a cane and due to the broad four-point base of a walker, it can handle more body weight as well. Also, walkers require users to grip with both hands, making it easier and more balanced for maneuvering. Although walkers are bulky and not ideal for small or crowded spaces, some models fold up for convenience.
One of the drawbacks of no-wheel walkers is that the elderly person must lift it up and move it forward. This can require some upper body strength and may tire out some seniors. A wheeled walker is easy to move and just requires a little push to go forward. Some seniors may experience soreness in the back and shoulders from the effort needed to move a walker.
When making the decision between walkers and canes, caregivers can support whatever personal choice their elderly relative makes. Either way, the goal is for them to walk further and longer with minimal side effects. A walker or a cane can mean more freedom for an elderly loved one.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elder Care in Mountain Brook, AL, please contact the caring staff at Senior Legacy Care today. Call us at (205) 380-7418.
Susan Smith, Owner
Susan Smith is the owner of Senior Legacy, an independent non-medical senior in home care business.... Read More...