Need a Cane for Reluctant User
Most people do not think they need a cane; it’s just human nature not to notice our own faults, mistakes or habits.
While you notice that Dad is holding onto the furniture when he walks around the room now, he is not conscious of these protective moves at all. While you notice that Mom is getting tired out sooner when walking around the store, she does not see that as a problem. When you notice that your loved one seems dizzy and off-balance more often than before, he or she just says, “It’s no problem. Don’t worry.”
But you do worry. Do you believe that your loved one might need a cane or walker, but you fear that he will resist that idea? How do you overcome reluctant cane-use?
When discussing the possibility that the person might need a walking aid, maintain a positive attitude about it. A cane or a walker is a tool, that’s all. A tool helps one to do their work. A cane or walker is not a sign of loss of independence, or of being “crippled.” People can walk further with less fatigue when using a walker or cane, so these are “tools” which help people do more.
There are Benefits
The main benefit to the user is the added confidence that one will not fall. Using a cane or walker is a safety measure to protect the user from a fall. Falls can cause long-term and permanent impairments, particularly for seniors with fragile bones and weaker muscles.
It’s a lot safer to use a cane or walker around the house instead of trying to balance on tables, chairs and walls as you pass by. Point out that the cane- user avoids knocking over the lamp, spilling that coffee mug on the table and pushing furniture over when putting weight on them to try to maintain balance. Reluctant cane-use can cause accidents and messes to clean up.
Outdoors, using a cane or walker can give one a much better experience than hitting the pavement would. The neighbors will not be worried about Dad staggering down the sidewalk or Mom falling off the porch when, instead, they are seen safely using a cane or walker outdoors. Seniors don’t need to embarrass themselves around the neighbors; they should realize that when you need a cane or a walker it is not the stigma they might think it is.
Lots of Options
You might note when you see a cane or a walker that they are nice-looking, not just plain stainless steel. Nowadays, they come in colors and styles that are attractive. Having a stylish color or print can take the sting out of reluctant cane-use or resistant walker- use. Take a look at the canes and walkers available here at Caregiver-Aid.
If you would like to settle the issue with your loved one, ask your doctor to give a referral for an assessment by a physical therapist. The physical therapist can assess the patient’s balance and gait and make an objective recommendation about what would be best for the patient. There may be a variety of devices that could work depending on the patient’s abilities, preferences, and environments. A therapist might recommend a walking stick, a quad cane, a standard walker or a rollator for the patient. The therapist can also train the patient to correctly use a cane or walker and tell them when and where they should be used.
The patient will be more confident and more capable with this information and training. As a caregiver, you will have one less thing to worry about when your loved one is using these “tools” correctly, confidently and safely to build independence.
Caregivers, this is one more way to help seniors stay safe and healthy at home.