Choosing a Mobility Device: Canes vs. Walkers
When buying a mobility device for the first time, there is a lot to take into consideration. What are the key features needed in order to feel comfortable and stable, how easily can the device be transported, how much bodyweight and stress can the device support?
Some individuals may feel hesitant about using a mobility device or feel that the device itself will hinder their independence. Though fall prevention is the main reason mobility devices are prescribed, canes and walkers can also be used to promote independence and free movement. Knowing which of the two to use – and when to make a change – is a personal and ongoing decision that it is important to make with your caregiver, doctor and/or physical therapist.
There are many advantages to having a cane. They are light, portable, and easy to maneuver in tight spaces, can be the least intrusive, and make it relatively easy to adjust to having a mobility aid in general.
The UStep LaserCane is much more than an average cane, equipped with a mechanical switch at the bottom of the cane which projects a red or green laser to help cue steady walking. This cane was specifically designed for patients living with Parkinson’s who experience “freezing”. In studies conducted at the Mayo Clinic, doctors and researchers found that every patient who was aided with a laser-cued cane or walker saw significant improvements in their movement and overall mobility. LaserCane is most appropriate for individuals who experience freezing but are otherwise stable enough to walk on their own.
If challenges go beyond feeling slightly unsteady and off-balance while walking, and beyond needing a little extra support, it is definitely a good idea to consider the addition of a walker. Canes do not support a patient’s full weight and only provide support to one side of the body.
Once a person can no longer walk safely with a cane and are opting to sit or lay down more often, it’s time to talk to a professional about switching to a walker.
U-Step has three models of walkers, Standard, Platform, and Press Down. Each of them is uniquely designed to fit the needs of our clients. Look back to our blog page soon for an explanation of their differences. For now, here are some of the features shared by all U-Step Neuro models:
Reversed Braking System
The UStep braking system was designed to prevent rolling until one of the two handbrakes is lightly squeezed. It is also designed to immediately stop once the handbrake is released. This is a safer braking system than is found on standard walkers because the brakes are on as the default. This creates a steady, supportive base when standing up and makes it easy to stop the walker in case of emergency.
Rolling Resistance Control
U-Step users can set their own speed simply by adjusting a lever near the two main rubber wheels, providing a controlled rolling speed for safety and peace of mind.
Our walkers are designed with a base in the shape of a U, encompassing the user and providing greater stability and support. The U-Step Neuro has 75% of its weight concentrated in the base, giving it a very low center of gravity for maximum stability.
Spring-Loaded Front Wheel
Our specially designed spring-loaded system allows U-Step users to go over bumps and obstacles without having to feel the aftershocks of the transition. It helps when navigating over cracks in the sidewalk, floor coverings, and indoor molding strips. This feature is equally useful both indoors and outdoors and is a major difference (advantage) over other wheeled walkers.
Finding the right product may seem like a daunting task, but it is important to remember that mobility devices are to maximize one’s ability to get up and keep moving, and to engage in routine activities as much as possible, while also protecting from dangerous falls. Seeking advice from a doctor or physical therapist is critical in making sure that the mobility aid of choice is helping you or your loved one… stay mobile. U-Step is committed to helping our users find the perfect device to promote stability and independence in their lives.
For more product information, answers to more specific questions, or to share your own successes in choosing a cane vs. walker, please be in touch. We love to hear from you.