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This month's article is a sequel to a previous one on Fall Prevention and was created from an interview with Sharon Jhirad owner of ThemeWellness Home HealthCare. Mr Jhirad's centres his services and products around fall prevention addressing the reality of falls. He provides a full range of products that are adapted to the needs of his clients. During our discussion attention focused on the cane, so I'm pleased to pass on his information about this device.

The Cane - a "hand"y support
Anyone of us can have a fall and the risk of falling increases as we age. Most people experience some decline in capacity brought on by decreased muscle and bone strength, poor balance, reduced vision or hearing, certain medical conditions and medications to treat them. Added on, are environmental demands that become difficult to handle; e.g. stairs, uneven surfaces, lack of seating or benches.

Usually, falls have more than one cause. The Good News is falls are preventable! Adjustments to our home and lifestyle, proper nutrition, keeping physically active and using aids to support our daily living safely are some of the things that will help us stay active and be well. Physical activity for older adults is so important for health and quality of life and that walking is the most basic form of mobility and a great choice for exercise. A safety aid like a CANE is a handy support. It can improve balance as you walk or help take off the load from painful joints. It is useful when you need just a little help walking safely and comfortably. In most cases, for an older adult, a single point cane will help him or her move around independently. Look at your cane as an accessory … have it match your clothes. Canes are available in solid colors (pink, bronze, blue) or patterned (floral, paisley). Planning to travel? There are folding canes that can be conveniently fit into a large handbag.

Canes themselves have accessories. A clip-on allows you to hang the cane on a table, so it doesn't fall onto the floor while you dine at your favourite restaurant. A tripod cane tip renders the cane self-standing and allows better traction. Use a five-point cane pick to give an extra firm grip on ice and snow. It flips up and out of the way when not in use. Check the tip or tips of your cane daily and replace them if they are worn. A supple rubber tip with a tread in good shape provides the necessary traction on most surfaces. If it appears worn out, buy a replacement tip at the home healthcare store.

Grip
Choose a cane with a comfortable handle and one that allows a firm grip. Selecting a grip is usually a matter of personal preference. Someone with arthritis or other joint pains might prefer using a larger grip.

Types of Canes
Forearm Cane: The Forearm Cane shifts pressure from the wrist to the forearm, to provide support, stability and control. You can get one that comes with its lights and horn (beep, beep… )
Quad Cane: is for more stability. It has four large bases with slip-resistant feet.

Before starting to use your newly purchased cane, get fitted and trained to use your cane at a home healthcare store where the staff can help you with this. For safety reasons, always purchase a "brand new" cane and not a second-hand one.

Being Fitted for Your Cane:
Stand tall in your walking shoes. The top of your cane should reach to the crease in your wrist, and your elbow should bend a bit when you hold your cane. The result is the best support. If the cane is too low, it can cause you to slump.

Walking with your Cane:
Look forward when you walk, not down at your feet. Ensure that the tip or all four prongs are on the ground before putting your weight on your cane. The right way is to hold the cane on your strong side. First move your weaker side along with the cane to get proper support (You share the weight on both sides) and then complete the step with your normal (stronger) leg.

Climbing Stairs:
First, grasp the handrail (if possible) and step up on your normal (strong) leg first, keeping the cane in the hand opposite the weaker leg. Then, step up on the weaker leg simultaneously moving the cane. To climb down the stairs, put your cane on the lower step first, follow with your weaker leg, and finally the normal (stronger) leg, which carries your body weight. Take the stairs one at a time. When you reach either end of the stairs, move on only after you've stopped a moment to regain your balance.

Talk to your health care provider if you are having a lot of pain, weakness, or balance problems. A walker may be a better option.©

Stay Active… Be Well.

From: The Team at ThemeWellness Home HealthCare

A Walker's Assistant

Date

November 15, 2014

Author

James Kershaw

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Jim Kershaw says

December 18, 2016

It's a good idea to inscribe your name and phone number somewhere on your cane.

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