Maintaining balance and stability with an injury or a chronic condition like arthritis is much easier to do if your senior is using an assistive device. But is a walker or a cane right for her particular situation?
She’s Experiencing Pain
Pain is a big reason for your senior to need the help of either a walker or a cane, but there are some distinctions. If your elderly family member is experiencing pain on one side of her body, say she’s dealing with arthritis in one hip, then a cane may work for her. If she’s got arthritis in both hips, though, she might get more support from a walker.
She Needs Help Supporting Her Weight
Canes can help to support a smaller percentage of someone’s weight than a walker can. This is because the walker is a larger and more solid assistive tool than a cane is. Canes with quad feet are going to be a little more supportive than a single-tipped cane.
She’s Injured on One Side Only
If your elderly family member is using an assistive device only temporarily, it’s likely due to an injury. If she’s injured on one side only, then a cane may do the job just fine. Injuries on both sides or to multiple parts of her body may require a walker for additional support.
She’s Got Very Bad Balance
Some people with very bad balance find that they feel more secure with a walker, though, even for smaller injuries. This is because the walker surrounds her a bit and allows her to lean a bit on it rather than only taking part of her weight as a cane does. If your senior’s balance is very good, though, she may be able to use a cane even with a serious injury.
Her Doctor Can Help
Talk to your senior’s doctor about which assistive device is right for her situation. There may be other variables that are unique to your elderly family member’s injury or illness that require her to use a specific tool. Whether this is permanent or a temporary tool, it helps to have her doctor’s perspective.
Getting used to using either a walker or a cane requires practice. Senior care providers can help your elderly family member to feel more comfortable using both of these devices. They can also show you tips that you need to know that can help to make your senior’s life easier with either assistive tool.