folding cane

Folding Cane

Product Guide and Recommendations

A folding cane is a great way to reduce the risk of falls for elderly with minor balance, strength and endurance issues.

Maybe you've noticed your loved one is holding onto furniture while they walk around the house or had a recent fall?

If they are not significantly unsteady on their feet, a walking cane might be all they need to be safe and as independent as possible.

Of all the mobility products for the elderly, a folding cane provides the least amount of support but may be all your elderly parent needs.

It is also the most portable and affordable option that can make a big difference in improving the safety of your loved one.

It's important that you select an appropriate cane, that it fits well and the senior practices using it in a safe environment (at home or in the hallway of their senior community).


folding cane

Folding canes are single point walking canes. There are also quad canes that provide more support and are beneficial for seniors who cannot hold onto a walker with both hands.

A folding cane provides a third base of support (two legs plus the cane). This provides a balance point and can reduce the risk of falls.

They are lightweight and can be made from wood or metal. They come in a wide variety of sizes, handle shapes and features.

Who Should Use?

A folding cane is excellent for elderly who need a little extra support due to minor issues with balance, strength and endurance. They can also help take weight off a painful hip, knee or foot.

Maybe you have noticed they are "furniture cruising" in the home (holding onto chairs, counters, etc) but have not had any falls and do not feel unsteady on their feet.

A cane may provide the added support to make your elderly parent safer and improve their confidence walking.

Who Should NOT Use?

A folding cane should not be used by seniors who need more support than a cane can provide.

If your loved one has had a fall and is unsteady on their feet then a cane may cause more problems as it takes a certain level of balance and strength to use safely.

I recommend they use walkers for elderly, which are designed for people with balance, strength and endurance issues.

Recommended Features

folding cane

A good folding cane should include the following:

  • Lightweight - It's easier and more comfortable to use a lightweight folding cane.
  • Adjustable height - Sometimes it takes a bit to figure out just the right height so it's easier and less expensive to have an adjustable cane than to keep switching different length canes.
  • Compatible with different tips - If the senior lives in a winter climate with ice and snow, it's beneficial to have an ice tip with spikes that can flip down when needed.
  • Comfortable grip with strap - A cane will get used more if it's comfortable and convenient.

Once a senior is comfortable using a cane, they can choose from a wide assortment of styles, colors and features.


folding cane

There are a few accessories for elderly walking canes:

  • Ice cane tips with spikes for winter (flips down when needed, and up when not)
  • Non-slip rubber tip for summer
  • Cane holders for elderly scooters or walkers
  • Small bags that attach to the cane
  • Cane tips to provide more support
  • Rocker cane tips can make the cane more comfortable and secure
  • Wrist straps
  • Different walking cane handles
  • Cane holders that allow the cane to easily rest on a table or nightstand
  • Safety lights so people can see you at night
  • A variety of colors and designs

How to Fit

Much like other mobility products for the elderly, the handle should be at the same height as the senior's wrist.

How to measure:

  1. Have them wear their regular shoes
  2. Have them stand next to a wall or chair to support themselves
  3. Ask them to stand tall and put one arm by their side
  4. Measure from the ground to the crease of their wrist
  5. Write down measurements to use when shopping or ordering a cane
  6. This is an approximate height and varies a little depending on personal preference (usually within 1 inch)

How to Use

It would seem that a simple single point folding cane would be easy to use.

However, many seniors cannot get used to the timing of walking with a cane and prefer to use a rollator walker even though they are bigger and provide more support than they may need.

Here are the basics and like everything, it takes practice:

  1. Make sure the folding cane is fitted properly.
  2. Hold cane in dominant hand first
  3. Match the cane with the opposite leg so that both strike the ground at the same time
  4. Try holding the cane with the other hand and repeat
  5. Continue practicing with the hand it feels more natural in

Some seniors prefer to use the cane so that the cane and closest leg move together. This does not provide the same amount of support and can alter the senior's stride/gait.

How Much Do Canes Cost?

They can range from $10 to $200+, depending on the style.

It's not uncommon to have a difficult time convincing a senior to start using a mobility aid such as a cane. Buying a cane that expresses a bit of their style, interests or hobbies can make a big difference in their perception of using one.

Other Types of Canes

folding cane

There are a wide variety of canes available including:

  • Style/Color - Choose one that will match their taste. There are literally hundreds of different styles.
  • Cane chair - A folding cane chair that converts into a small stool.
  • Hand carved custom canes - Beautiful wood carved canes make great gifts.
  • Seat cane - Converts into a seat when needed.
  • Quad cane - Has a large four point base for more support.
  • Hemi Walker - Looks like a folding walker but functions like a cane. Provides more support than a quad cane.


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