There may come a time when you are less able to get around independently. This could be because of a condition such as MS, arthritis, balance problems, or following an accident or stroke. You may wonder if you should start using a walking aid.
This post helps you decide when the time is right to start using a disability walking aid. And answers some of the more common questions. It also links to further sources of advice.
When should I start using a walking aid?
I think many of us who have struggled to get around have been through a period of denial. “I’m not that bad that I need to use a cane/crutch/rollator.”
“It’ll make me look old.”
“It will just be a nuisance.”
“I’ll probably be a bit better once I get over this bad spell/flare up/when the weather gets warmer.”
Certainly those were the sorts of things I told myself!
But I was in denial. I needed help to get around independently, and I finally admitted the time had come to get a walking aid.
So when is the ‘right’ time?
There are some simple tests you can apply.
- Do you use the furniture to help you get around at home? You don’t have that option when you’re out and about.
- Have you have had a fall, or think you might have one?
- Have you stopped doing things because you’re finding it tiring or difficult?
If you’ve answered yes to even one of these questions, then it could be time to get a mobility walking aid.
Won’t my mobility get worse if I rely on an aid?
This is something that I worried about and I resisted using anything for ages for that very reason. My mobility got worse anyway, but once I started to use aids, I was able to do more. Plus I got more exercise, which is good for everyone.
If your condition affects one side, e.g. you have a limp or weaknesses on one side, then you may over-use the non-affected side. This can cause the other ‘good’ side to start to hurt, can lead to you walking in a bit of a lop-sided or twisted way, causing muscles aches and further problems down the line. You are also at a higher risk of falling – and no-one wants that. Not only might you seriously hurt yourself, it is SO undignified.
What are the benefits of using a walking aid?
A walking aid will help you walk in a more natural, upright way. This can help you look more able than you really are!
You will be able to walk further if you have some support. And exercise is generally a good thing. It can slow down the progression of your condition. It also improves your overall health and wellbeing.
As your confidence grows, you will be able to go to a wider number of places. This makes life much more interesting.
You will feel much less tired. This encourages you to go out more regularly. It also improves your quality of life.
Using a walking aid can make you feel safer. You are less afraid of tripping or falling. Reduced anxiety is a good reason for using a mobility aid, as it just makes everything better.