Many people would rather not use a walker or cane. They may feel embarrassed, think they don’t need it, or believe their balance is better without it. But if you have pain, weakness, or balance problems, a walking aid can help make you safer and more comfortable.
Walking helps you lead a healthier life
If you’re in pain or afraid of falling, you’re going to walk with less confidence. Worse yet, you may avoid walking altogether. That may cause you to become weaker and may actually increase your chances of falling.
Staying active – even with the simple act of walking – can help you stay healthy and independent. A walking aid may allow you to go places and do things that would have otherwise been impossible. Getting out of the house and socializing is good for your health. So make sure you have a safe way to do that using a cane or walker, if needed.
One size does not fit all
The American Physical Therapy Association advises against borrowing walking aids from friends or family. To avoid falls, it’s important that you:
- Work with your doctor or physical therapist to choose the right type of walking aid for you.
- Have your walking aid sized so it fits you correctly.
- Get help learning how to use it the right way.
It takes a little practice to learn to use a walker or cane. That includes how to move from sitting to standing, how to handle curbs and stairs, and using it in the bathroom and bedroom. There is some helpful information available from the Mayo Clinic and the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Have walker, will travel!
A walking aid is not a limitation. It’s quite the opposite, really. Airlines and tour companies know that people who use walking aids want to travel. TripAdvisor has a forum you can check out to see what others have to say. The U.S. Department of Transportation and Transportation Safety Administration also have useful information.
Make sure your home is safe, too
Every year, around 2.4 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. And many of those falls occur at home. Follow these simple steps to help make your home as safe as possible.
Want more healthy living tips? Take a look at our other blog posts.