The Right Way to Use a Cane

If your elderly relative is no longer completely steady when they walk, their doctor or physical therapist may recommend they start using a cane for support. Canes are lightweight, affordable, and very effective in providing a little extra support for the elderly. Most people think that an elderly person can just grab a cane and go, but there are several things that they need to do to ensure they are using it properly.

Caregiver in East Windsor NJ: Using a Cane
Caregiver in East Windsor NJ: Using a Cane

Family caregivers and their elderly relatives should learn about the right way to use a cane to maximize the benefits of this walking aid.

Style and Size of Cane.

There are several different cane styles that seniors can choose from. The most basic is the single point cane made of wood or aluminum, with a curved handle. There are also vertical handled canes and canes that have a tri- or quad-base. The more points on the ground, the more stable the cane is. Seniors will need to decide what style is best for them.

The height of the cane is critical in making sure the elderly adult is using it properly. The proper length will reduce the risk of an aching arm and back. It will also be easier for the elderly person to use. To measure for a cane, seniors should stand upright in their walking shoes with their arms relaxed at their sides. Then, the family member should measure the distance from the bend of the wrist to the floor. This is the proper height for a cane.

Walking With a Cane.

There’s a proper technique that elderly adults need to learn so they can walk with a cane. The general rule is that the cane goes on the strongest side but moves with the weakest side. In other words, seniors should hold the cane in their stronger or more dominant hand. They should first step with the opposite leg and bring the cane forward as well. The weaker leg and the cane should move together. Seniors must lean their weight on the cane, which can support up to a quarter of their body weight.

If the elderly person has an injury on the lower right leg or foot, they should meet with their doctor or their physical therapist about making sure they are making modifications to how they should be walking.

Walking With a Cane on Stairs.

One of the most difficult things to learn with a cane is how to safely handle stairs. Seniors should use railings when available for the best support. When going up the stairs, seniors should start with their strongest leg, then use the weaker leg and the cane. To go down the stairs, seniors should start with their weaker leg at the same time as the cane, then follow with the stronger leg.

Incorporating a cane into an elderly person’s daily routine is an excellent way to give them the support they need and minimize the risk of slip and fall accidents. Even though a cane is a simple device, it’s going to be much more beneficial to the elderly adult when it is used correctly.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregiver services in East Windsor, NJ or the surrounding areas, please call Independence Home Care today at 609-208-1111 for more information




Teresa Sajkowski RN BSN CHPN

Teresa Sajkowski RN BSN CHPN

Owner of Always Responsive Home Care

Learn More
Caregiver in East Windsor NJ