Mobility is the most common disability among older Americans, this according to the U.S. Census Bureau report.
The Census Bureau reported that close to 40% of Americans age 65 and above had at least one disability. The report covered the period 2008 to 2012. Of the 15.7 million affected Americans, the Census Bureau reported that two-thirds of them say they had difficulty in climbing and walking.
To enhance mobility, people with mobility problems, use assistive devices such as canes, walkers and scooters.
A study by Kaye et al. in the year 2000 found that cane use is especially common among the elderly, at 10.2 % of the U.S. population aged 65 or over.
Here are 5 reasons why walking canes are popular among the elderly population:
- Simple design: Canes come in many versions: single-tip, quad tips, traditional wooden cane, standard aluminum cane or shepherd’s crook handled canes. But all these versions are simply designed as a walking stick. This medical product can readily be bought from shelf at drugstores and retail stores.
- Portable: Because this assistive device is simply a stick, this can be carried almost anywhere: inside the house, the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom. It can also be used outdoors such as parks, at the office, inside public transportations as well as inside restaurants and shops.
- Re-acquisition of walking skills: One benefit of using this assistive device is the re-acquisition of walking skills after trauma. In general, this device is prescribed to those who have a moderate level of impairment. Specifically, only those who require support of up to 25% of their weight can use this walking aid.
- Keeps the doctor away: The re-acquisition of walking skills and the ensuing more time for physical activity prevent the loss of bone mass, formation of skin sores, improve blood circulation as well as improve kidney, urinary, digestive and respiratory functions.
- Improves quality of life: The re-acquisition of walking skills through the use of a cane is also beneficial for the psychological well-being. It can improve self-esteem as well as improve relations with family, friends and community.
It is important to adjust the cane to its proper height in order to prevent hand, wrist, back and/or shoulder pain. Follow these steps to adjust the length:
- Use your most comfortable shoes.
- Ask someone to measure the length from your wrist to the floor. Accordingly adjust the length based on this measurement.
- To find out if the height is the correct one, place your hand on the handle. If there is a 20-degree to 30-degree bend in your arms, then that is the correct length.