Seniors generally have limited lower body strength and are at the risk of falling over while walking. So they’re advised by physicians to have mobility aid like walking sticks. It’s one of the most popular non-intrusive mobility aid for older people. And they come with numerous benefits for them.
Studies suggest that older adults find walking sticks useful for reducing load-bearing weight on the spine, hips, and knees. As a result, they can enjoy the outdoors and also have a bit of exercise. In this article, we’ll explore more about the walking sticks and how they benefit my dad & grandpa and your dad & grandpa!
Walking Stick Overview
A walking stick is a long stick with a curved handle that aid walking. It’s a temporary device used by people with slight mobility issues for better balance and stability while walking or climbing. Elderly adults with difficulty walking are the most common users of this mobility aid.
Besides aiding walking, it also provides postural stability that helps one maintain a good posture. Senior folks find it a great companion; some even carry it as a fashion accessory. They feel safe walking with this stick as they can also use it for self-defense.
Walking Stick Vs. Cane
Canes are one kind of walking stick, which is why they’re often used interchangeably. A walking stick or pole is the primary version of a cane and isn’t as stable as a cane because of its narrower base. As a result, they provide little support and balance compared to canes.
Someone with a major mobility issue will prefer using a cane over a walking stick. Seniors who have become senile and weak use the standard sticks to eliminate the risk of falling or slipping. It also protects their knees from the walking impact.
Many even use it for aesthetic purposes. Walking downhill becomes challenging for older people, and the walking stick comes in as the handiest companion in such instances.
What Health Issues Cause Seniors to opt For a Walking Pole
Someone with limited lower body strength or serious lower limb injury may need a better support aid than the walking stick or pole. However, some health issues frequently occur in elder people disturbing their normal mobility.
In such cases, seniors use a walking stick to overcome different health challenges such as:
- Pain in the knee, hip, or ankle that cause difficulty in walking
- Uneven gait or painful limp that causes additional strain on the non-painful joints
- Previous stroke or joint replacement that affects the lower limb to move normally
Benefits of a Walking Stick for Elderly People
A walking stick can be quite useful for older people. Some of its benefits are as follows:
Protects from Falling on Risky Terrains
Older adults have a hard time walking on rough and slippery terrains. A walking stick can help stabilize their body in such cases to reduce the risk of slipping or falling and eventually hurting themselves.
Provides Support When Fatigued
Seniors reach senile condition with age, where their stability and muscle strength become uncertain. So walking can cause fatigue and cause them to lose their balance. A walking stick provides the necessary support and makes walking easier and more relaxing.
Helps Walking as a Form of Exercise
Since waking is a form of exercise, someone can reap its benefits by walking regularly. However, it’s difficult for older people to do that without support. So they use the walking stick to walk regularly without staying home.
Such a stick can become a good companion for seniors on their health walks, keeping them active and energized. Walking also helps them reduce the threats posed by lifestyle diseases like diabetes, cholesterol, cardiac health issues, arthritis, etc.
Tackles Strenuous Activity
A walking stick also supports a senior in using stairs since it’s difficult for them to climb or go downstairs. In fact, seniors rely on a stick whenever they encounter any strenuous activity. Some elders also find it a comfort and self-defense device that gives them peace of mind when they’re out.
Choose the Right Stick for Walking Effectively
When choosing one for you or your senior companion, consider a few factors to find the most suited one. Let’s look at some of these factors down below:
Since we’re talking about walking sticks for seniors, it’s better to go for lighter sticks. The poles made of carbon fiber are supposed to be the sturdiest yet lightest ones to use. But one has to be careful about the floaty sticks because they can be difficult to use on uneven terrains or in windy conditions.
Length & Adjustability
It’s important to find a walking stick of the right length so that it suits an older adult’s height. Getting an extendable stick is the best idea in this case as they suit a range of heights. The user should be able to grip the handle lightly while the arm lies at a 90-degree angle to the ground. Nonetheless, it’s up to the individual to set the stick longer or shorter while descending or ascending
A walking stick shouldn’t feel hassling while traveling. So getting a fold-away stick makes a better choice for older adults. Having one folded as small as possible will allow a senior to carry that easily.
Convenience of Grip
An inconvenient grip can cause fatigue and affect one’s walking. There are two factors that make gripping comfortable. Firstly straps that allow one have a looser and more relaxed grip—secondly, the handles have to be ergonomically curved to fit the palm. The crooked or curved handle with a rubber grip can be handy on terrains that require a lot of balance.
Seniors are more vulnerable to jarring or falling over. So it’s important to get a walking stick with an integrated shock absorber that could prevent pressure whilst walk so that the arm and leg muscles remain well protected. Generally, there’s a rubber ferrule at the bottom of these sticks that reduce the jarring felt while walking.
It’s quite evident that walking sticks are useful for the older adults in our society. It gives them a sense of comfort and safety while walking. As a result, they feel encouraged to walk more for their health benefits.
It keeps them healthy not only physically but also mentally by reducing stress and tension. When the seniors go out and walk conveniently, they seem to enjoy the outdoors, which makes their life better. So a walking stick can really make a difference for the seniors in many ways.
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