Access and Resources
As we age we face a greater risk of falling. In fact, 1 in 3 seniors fall each year. Canes and walkers can help reduce the risk of falling, and they can help those who are recovering from a fall to get mobile again. Health Canada identifies some risk factors that may help you determine if you are at increased risk for a fall.
Using a Cane
A cane can help you with your balance or instability, but it can also help you bear weight if you are suffering from an injury. Your doctor or physical therapist can help you determine what kind of cane you need (e.g. a single point, or 4 points).
For more information, Health Canada provides this leaflet on Using a Cane.
This slide show from the Mayo Clinic will help you consider which cane is best for you depending on whether you need if for balance, weight bearing or general mobility.
Using a Walker
For some people, using a walker is uncomfortable or even difficult. Look for ways to make your walker more comfortable and easy to use because they do help prevent falls and injuries. The tips below might help.
1. Identify ways to make holding on to your walker more comfortable. Standard walker grips are smooth, hard, and unfriendly to the human hand. Not to mention, slippery when one’s hand is wet. And don’t you just love the feeling of cold steel on your hand in the dead of winter? Walker hand grips come in terrycloth or fleece, slip on in a snap, and help you to “keep your grip.”
2. Find walker accessories to help you carry the items you need with no adverse impact on safety. Manufacturers have been responsive to seniors in recent years by providing a wide range of carrying accessories for walkers. The classic “big front bag” for walkers has been improved upon, and other bags, boxes, and cases have been added for more specialized purposes.
3. Look for ways to help your walker glide more easily across the floor, thereby avoiding accidents. Deal with uncooperative surfaces with neat walker accessories that help you glide along. While they won’t help you slalom down the slopes, walker skis pop easily onto the walker legs and help you slide, rather than snag, on carpeting. Skiing not your sport? How about tennis? Ball glides ingeniously use tennis balls to help the walker slide along over smooth surfaces like wood, tile, and vinyl flooring—and never leave a mark.