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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. 

    :) Alison 

    Feel Good About Using A Cane

    feel good about using a cane 

    Are you having trouble getting around like you used as you get older? Maybe your doctor or a friend suggested using a cane. You bristled at the suggestion. But why? You use glasses to help you see, a dishwasher to help you do dishes? It might be because a cane makes you feel frail and old. Here is an easy solution.

    Buy a cane THAT YOU LIKE!

    Let me explain.  Do you have a sweater in the back of your closet you don’t wear because you received it as a gift and think it is ugly? The same thing will happen with an ugly cane that makes you feel old and frail. If your cane was purchased by yourself or someone else who walked into the local drug store and bought the first thing they saw, you aren’t going to like it. Brushed aluminum is not for everyone. Just like you shop around for shoes that fit your look, do the same with canes. You should even have more than one- a cane for work, a cane for exercise, a cane for sporting events, black tie, picnic etc. You get the idea. Yes, Ease Living does sell a variety of canes and I would love to help you find a cane you love. But if you don’t shop with Ease, find a cane you love somewhere else. Your life, your safe mobility and your happiness depend on it.

    Shop Ease's Selection of Canes here. 

    Using a Cane - Expectation vs Reality

    using a cane expectation vs reality

     

    When getting around gets tough, there are several products available which can make getting staying mobile much easier. Walking canes are one the most common. Unfortunately, you can’t just borrow a walking cane from a friend or grab a cane from the drug store. Choosing the right walking cane for you can transform your life.

    Many people have preconceived notions about canes and what they represent. In reality, walking canes have come a long way. Now, walking canes are not only functional, they are also stylish and practical.

    Below are five things that you should know before you start using your new walking cane!

    1. Understand Why You Need A Cane  – There are several reasons why can a cane may be the perfect solution for you. Do you have pain or balance issues when you are walking? Do you find yourself holding on to walls and furniture when maneuvering about? Do you find yourself moving around less than you would like or avoiding outings because of these concerns? If so, you could benefit from using a cane temporarily or on a permanent basis.  
    2. You Don’t Have To Sacrifice Style – Just because you need to start using a cane, it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice style. There are so many options beyond the stainless steel canes at the drug store. Find a cane, or canes!, that you love and you will be happy to use them. You have more than one pair of shoes, why not have a cane wardrobe?
    3. Ensure Your Cane Is Correctly Sized – A cane that hasn’t been sized correctly isn’t going to help you at all. In fact, it could turn you off using a walking cane altogether. To work out the correct size cane for you, put on your walking shoes and allow your arms to hang freely to your side. Now, have a friend or family member measure from your wrist joint to the floor. If you have a measurement which isn’t an exact inch, then round up. That’s the length of the cane you should look to purchase.
    4. Using Your Cane On The Correct Side – Your walking cane should always be used on your “good side”, opposite side  the side with the injury. Take a step with your “bad” leg and bring the cane forward at the same time. Take average size steps and don’t let the cane get too far ahead of you. If you are using the cane for general balance and not for an injury, hold the cane in your dominant hand. See this article for more tips on walking with a cane. 
    5. Use It Or Lose It – Don’t think of your cane as a bad thing. A cane that you like that fits you well will allow you to keep doing everything you want to do. Mobility is so important for your physical and mental health. A cane that sits in the closet doesn’t do you any good

    Check out Ease Living's cane selection here. And don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you have about walking canes. We would love to assist you in discovering a walking cane that improves your mobility and adds some style.

    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!

     

     

     

     

     

    Does Medicare Cover Walkers & Canes?

    does medicare cover walkers and canes

    You’ve been feeling a little weak or unsteady lately and have decided to do something about it before it becomes a problem. Or maybe your doctor, therapist or child took a look at you and said, “Guess what? We are getting you a walker or cane.” Before you guffaw and so “NO WAY!”, take a step back and give it some thought. If a walker or cane keeps you independent and safe, it is probably a good idea. If you’ve had surgery or an injury, you might not have a choice.

    Will your cane or walker be covered by Medicare or insurance? It depends. And it is complicated.

    What does Medicare cover and how to make the claim?

    Medicare Plan B and Medicare Advantage Plans cover renting and purchase of walking aids like canes and walkers. But there are certain conditions to satisfy to receive coverage for the device.

    First, you must produce a prescription for the walking aid from a doctor who participates in Medicare. The prescription should confirm that your mobility impairment prevents you from doing daily activities as you should. In other words, it should suggest that the equipment is medically necessary to help you move independently. It should also state that you will be able to  use the equipment safely, without any danger of accident or injury.

    Once you have this prescription, you can buy your walker or cane from a medical equipment company that participates in Medicare. Not all medical supplies stores do participate in Medicare so make sure you call first. The DME (Durable Medical Equipment) company will direct you to walkers and canes that are approved by Medicare, and you can choose from these options. You will have to provide your insurance details to the supplier and fill out some forms to complete the purchase.

    Coverage under Medicare Plan B is 80% of the Medicare-approved cost or rent of an approved device. However, the actual amount you have to pay will depend on the type of Medicare coverage you have. Under Medicare Plan B, you will have to make the 20% co-pay from your pocket. If you have a Medicare Advantage Health Plan or Medigap insurance, it might cover the co-payment amount as well.

    Many people choose to buy a cane or a walker without a prescription as they decide they don’t want the hassle or dealing with Medicare or don’t like the Medicare options that are available. There are so many choices available when looking outside of what is covered by Medicare. You can find something that fits your style and your needs, which might make it more likely to be used instead of sitting in the closet.

    Ease Living offers a curated selection of canes, walkers and accessories here. Products chosen by an occupational therapist for their utility and for their style.