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    The Ultimate Guide to Walking with A Cane

    walking with a cane

    Many people are often apprehensive about using a cane. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe they think it makes them look old? Or incompetent? Here is how I see it. If a cane allows you to keep doing the things you love - safely - why wouldn’t you want a cane? When the choices are leaving the cane at home and falling (talk about making a scene!) or staying home and being bored and lonely, I’ll take the cane. 

    First, find a cane (or canes) you love. If you think something is ugly you will be a lot less likely to actually use it. Next, make sure the cane is the right height and learn how to walk with it correctly. 

    Measuring for the Right Cane

    Having a cane that is the correct height is important for safety and for your posture. Many models exist that are adjustable, but you should still know the proper length to use.

    You can obtain the correct measurement by standing upright with your arms relaxed. There should be a natural bend at your elbows, just like there always is when you’re standing. Make sure you’re in regular walking shoes that you’d often be wearing while using the cane.

    Have a second person measure you, going from your wrist joint down to the floor. This number gives you the correct cane length. So if you measure 32” from your wrist joint to the floor, you need a cane that’s 32” tall.

    You can also estimate the proper cane length by dividing your height in two. So, if you are 62” tall (5’ 2”), you need a cane that’s approximately 31” high. For most people, the right sized cane is within 1” of half your height. But always opt to stand and measure wrist joint to floor when possible. 

    How to Walk With a Cane

    Knowing how to use a cane when walking is imperative. 

    1. Hold the cane in the hand on your “good side” so that when you lean on it, you are taking weight off the side that hurts the most.
    2. Move the cane and the bad leg together at the same time. So, when you take a step with your bad leg, move the cane forward in sync. Don’t stretch it out--move it the same distance as your average step. 

    When stepping onto a level surface, have your bad leg take the first step while you use the cane to steady yourself as needed. When going up stairs, remember the saying “up with the good” to put your good leg up the step first. When going down stairs, remember the saying “down with the bad” to put your bad leg down the step first. 

    Soon walking with a cane will come without thinking. 

    Find a cane you love at Ease Living or anywhere else. Here is a link to Ease's current selection. Take that perfect cane and keep moving. Tell me about your adventures. 

    Want more articles like this? Also be the first to know about sales, new products and restocks.  CLICK HERE to Sign Up.

    Any questions or comments? Here is how to reach me - CONTACT

    Guests that Use a Cane or a Walker? 5 Ways to Prepare Your Home

    5 ways to prepare your home for guests that use a cane or walker

    You’ve bought the food and cleaned the house. What else can you do to make the stay easier for your guests that use a cane or a walker? 5 ideas from an occupational therapist.

    1. Deal with Area Rugs - Falls are a big concern and rugs are a big tripping hazard. Remove all throw and area rugs in areas where the person using the mobility aid will be walking. If that isn’t possible, secure all corners and edges with rug tape or anti slip mats.
    2. Remove Trip Hazards - Those cords that you are used to walking over could really cause problems for someone with limited mobility. Tuck away or tape down cords that could get in the way. Remove clutter like toys and shoes from high traffic areas. The clearer the path, the better.
    3. Make Things Brighter - You can likely easily navigate your home in the dark, but for guests, it isn’t so easy. Install higher watt light bulbs where you can and add extra lighting in shadowy areas.
    4. Make Your Bathroom Safer - Most falls that happen in the home occur in the bathroom.

    Shower/Tub: Remove any throw rugs and make sure to have an anti slip bath or shower mat for exiting the shower. A rubber mat or non stick bath treads are essential in the tub or shower. A shower chair is an inexpensive way to make it easier for someone to take a shower. They are available at medical supply stores and some mass market retailers.  

    Toilet: Do you have an older house with low toilets? These can be hard to get up from for someone with limited mobility. An elevated toilet seat or grab bars can increase safety and independence.

    5. Make It Easy to Get In the House -  A ramp will make it easier to get in and out of the house for someone that has trouble navigating stairs. Portable ramps that can easily be stored aware when not in use are available. It is also possible to rent a ramp in most areas. Search “ramp rental” to find a resource in your area.

    Have a great time hosting your guests and make it less stressful for everyone. To a Safe & Happy Gathering!

     

     

     

     

     

    Walking With a Cane

    walking with a cane

    You’ve found the perfect cane to keep you moving through your life. But how to use it correctly? Read on to learn how to use a cane properly for the most benefit.

    Is a cane right for me?

    First, know that canes are best for minor injuries and balance issues. A cane is not meant to support a large amount of weight like crutches.

    Make sure your cane is the right height.

    While wearing regular shoes, stand upright with your arms relaxed at your sides. The top of the cane should be level with your wrist. When taking measurements to order a  cane, measure from the wrist joint down to the floor when standing as above. If you’re buying a gift, a good guideline is to buy a cane that is half a person’s height. So if they are 5’5” (65 inches), a 32-33 inch cane will be the right size. Some canes are ordered by height and others are adjustable.

    How to walk with a cane.  

    Hold the cane in the hand on your “good” side (opposite the injury). Take a step with your “bad” leg and bring the cane forward at the same time. The cane and opposite leg should touch the ground at the same time. Take average size steps, you shouldn’t be stepping ahead of the cane or having to catch up to it. If you are using the cane for general balance and not for an injury, hold the cane in your dominant hand.

    Navigating stairs.

    Climb up the stairs by following the rule “up with the good”. Hold to the rail, if available, and hold the cane in the other hand. Put your stronger leg up on the step. Bring up the cane and your weaker leg to meet the stronger leg. When going down the stairs, continue to hold the railing in one hand and the cane in the other. Now it is “down with the bad” The weaker leg and the cane step down first then the stronger leg steps down meet them.

    Tackling curbs.

    Very similar to stairs. When going up a curb, step up with your strong leg then bring up the cane and the weaker leg to meet them. When stepping off the curb, start with the weaker leg and the cane in the opposite hand then step down with the stronger leg.

    Most importantly, don’t rush! And pick a cane (or canes!) that you love so you will never forget to use it as you maneuver through life. See Ease's curated selection of canes here. 

    Want more articles like this? Also be the first to know about sales, new products and restocks.  CLICK HERE to Sign Up. 

     

    Questions or comments? Reach out here - CONTACT

    Why Should You Wear Non-Binding Socks?

    patterned diabetic socks
    Have you ever taken off your socks at the end of the day only to have a ring indented around your calf for the next few hours? This isn't good for your legs for so many reasons. Decreased circulation can lead to leg pain and decreased sensation in your feet. If you suffer from leg swelling, tight socks can make it worse as the blood vessels are constricted by the tight elastic making it harder for blood to flow. 
    Diabetic? Non binding socks are essential. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to both the circulatory and nervous systems leading to a higher risk of foot injuries and infection. The nerve damage, known as neuropathy, can decrease awareness that an injury from a cut or rubbing socks or shoes has occurred which makes infection more likely. Allowing for circulation helps to prevent these wounds from occurring and allows for better healing if they do occur. 
    Ease Living's Solution? Our Non-Binding Socks for Men and WomenThe non-elasticized honeycomb top keeps your socks up while not leaving behind any indents while the 80% cotton, 20% nylon keeps your feet comfortable and dry. And the best part? They don't only come in in boring beige and black - they come in colors and patterns. Available in sizes for men or women in 3 packs in an array of choices. See some of the options below.
    Why Should You Wear Non-Binding Socks     Why Should You Wear Non-Binding Socks     Why Should You Wear Non-Binding Socks
    You do have options when it comes to socks for healthy legs.

    Want more articles like this? Also be the first to know about sales, new products and restocks.  CLICK HERE to Sign Up. 

    Any questions or comments? Here is how to reach me - CONTACT

    8 Winter Safety Tips for Seniors and Those Who Love Them

    8 winter safety tips for seniors

    This winter has been crazy here in Michigan! A ton of snow and freezing cold temperatures. Ice, snow and cold temperatures can be a challenge for everyone - especially seniors. 

    Here are 8 helpful tips from our resident occupational therapist to help stay safe and happy this winter.

    1. Watch Out for Ice - Everyone needs to do all they can to avoid falls but ice and snow make it easier to slip and fall. Make sure to wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles. Stick to cleared sidewalks and parking lots to better avoid slippery spots. Use devices like a cane or walker as needed and always use hand rails when they are available. And never be afraid to ask for help! 

    2. Stay Warm - Seniors can be more susceptible to hypothermia due to decreasing sensitivity to touch and temperature. Don't let indoor temperatures get too low by safely heating your house - be careful with fire places and space heaters. Dress in loose layers when leaving the house and be sure to cover your head and wear gloves. In very cold temperatures, cover all exposed skin. Use a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs.

    3. Fight Depression and Keep Your Spirits High - Between the bad weather and the constant darkness, seniors can be very isolated during the winter months. Schedule outings with friends and family to keep yourself active. If the weather gets too crazy, call someone up for an uplifting conversation about all the things you will do in the spring. 
    4. Check the Car - Make sure your car is in good repair- especially the tires and the brakes to handle the snowy roads. Recognize that reflexes may not be as fast as they used to be so be extra cautious when the roads are slippery. It is always a good idea to have a charged cell phone, a blanket or 2 and a bottle of water in the car in case you do get stuck and have to wait for help to get back on the road. 
    5. Be Prepared for Emergencies - Winter storms can lead to power outages. Make sure you have easy access to flashlights, battery-powered radio, warm blankets and a supply of non-perishable foods don't need to be cooked. If the power does go out, put on warm clothes and keep moving. Never bring a grill or outdoor fire pit in to the house for warmth. This winter weather checklist from the CDC will help you make sure you have everything you may need.
    6. Eat a Varied Diet - It is easier to eat healthy in the summer with all the colorful produce available. It can take a bit more effort in the winter. Be especially careful of vitamin D deficiency which is especially common in colder climates. Eat foods rich in vitamin D or ask your doctor about a supplement. 

    7. Be Careful with Indoor Heating - Make sure your carbon monoxide detector works and has good batteries. Many indoor heating methods like fireplaces, gas heaters and lanterns can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if in poor repair or not used properly. Also be careful with space heaters which can lead to fires if they tip over or are placed to close to blankets and curtains. 

    8. Don't be Afraid to Ask for Help! - Your friends and family love you and want to help! They would rather see you safe and happy then to have something bad happen. Hire a professional to clear snow. Arrange rides to the grocery store and doctor's appointments. Utilize delivery services and senior transportation that may be available in your community. 

    Spring time is coming! With these safety tips you will be healthy and ready to go when it (finally) arrives.