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. And that may help you avoid a life-changing fall.
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. Unfortunately, that can cause you to become weaker and can increase your chances of falling.
Staying active – even 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. And getting out of the house and staying social is good for your health.
Type and fit of walking aids matter
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. That includes how to move from sitting to standing, how to handle curbs and stairs, and using it in the bathroom and bedroom. The Mayo Clinic and the U.S. National Library of Medicine publish some helpful information.
Have walker, will travel!
A walking aid doesn’t have to limit your horizons. Airlines and tour companies know that people who use walking aids want to travel. Trip Advisor has a forum you can check out to see what others have to say. The U.S. Department of Transportation and Transportation Safety Administration have information, too.
Make sure your home is safe, too
Every year, 2.8 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.1 And many of those falls occur at home. Follow these simple steps to make your home as safe as possible.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html, accessed 10/11/17
ConnectiCare, Inc. is an HMO/HMO-POS plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in ConnectiCare depends on contract renewal.