When Mom or Dad Needs a Cane - What to Look For

Read Time: 3:20
Published: Nov 7th, 2020
When Mom or Dad Needs a Cane - What to Look For

Most of us take our mobility for granted. As we get older or suffer from health issues, we often need assistance. An unsteady gait is an unfortunate but common side effect of aging.

Getting our elderly parents or grandparents to start using walking aids can be a difficult task. Pride often gets in the way because they deny the need for a cane or other device. This denial can endanger their health and independence. 

Canes are useful for senior citizens because they help prevent falls, improve mobility, and provide that extra sense of security. Whether they are a necessity or a safety net, seniors must choose the right cane. The cane should be sturdy, be the right height, and be adjustable. 

When helping an elderly family member consider these tips when choosing the right cane:  

Choosing a Single-Tip or Quad Cane 

Canes are either single-tip or quad styles. The single-tip type is a standard cane with one end. The quad has a rectangle at the end with four tips, looking similar to a table. For seniors who don't rely heavily on the cane, the single-tip is suitable. For those who require it for mobility, the quad cane is recommended. The quad is also beneficial for seniors who have survived a stroke or are prone to dizziness. 

Selecting the Right Grip

Selecting the perfect grip is a factor to be considered when buying a new cane for your loved one. It's an important choice since a better grip will have less stress on joints. Foam grips that are shaped to the hand are best. 

If your senior family member has a cane causing numbness in the fingers, you should help them better a better cane. Having numbness in the fingers means the cane is not the right size or shape. Although it's a matter of personal preference, a larger foam grip is suggested for those who have arthritis.

Get the Right Size

The size of the cane is one of the most critical steps for purchasing the right cane. When you choose the right size cane, your loved one will have optimum mobility, and it will be a more effective safeguard. 

Be sure to check the elbow bend by having them hold the cane as they are bending their elbow at a 15-degree angle. It should be comfortable in that position. Next, check the wrist height. The top of the cane should line up with their wrist crease. There are many adjustable options for canes, too. They are good for senior citizens over the age of 80. At that age, they tend to lose inches of height more quickly.

Avoiding the Stigma of a Cane

Many senior citizens put off using a cane because of the stigma that goes with it. They may be self-conscious to use one, so it's good to get a nice-looking cane that they can be proud to show off. There are beautiful wooden options, patterns, or designs that will make the cane stand in a positive way. Seniors can even have their names, or favorite sayings etched into them.

Using the right cane can help maintain their independence. Falls are often a leading reason for accidents and even death in older people. Falls often lead to long-term care. 

Be sure to stress the value of using walking aids like a cane. Share with them the importance of preventing falls and injuries. Help them find the right cane and show them how to use it correctly.

Also, check their home environment and make sure their living space is free of obstacles and clutter. They must be able to maneuver their home efficiently and safely.

While you are at it, be sure there is plenty of lighting in the hallways and bedrooms. No one wants to be told what to do, especially as they get older. Use compassion as you make your suggestions and show them how it will help them remain independent and healthy.

About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

Editor's Note

Maintaining independence is a goal for most of us as we get older. However, with aging are the related health problems and accidents that can interfere with our control and independence. Longevity brings a higher risk of long-term care.

The problem of long-term care is it is both a cash flow issue and a family issue. Preparing your family and finances for the financial costs and burdens associated with long-term health care is key to experiencing a prosperous future retirement.

The cost of long-term care services will drain savings and adversely impact income and lifestyle. Your health insurance, including Medicare, pays little or nothing for most long-term care. The responsibility falls on you or your family.

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LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee
Mallory Knee

Contributor Since
September 25th, 2020

Freelance writer where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty

About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion.

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