I bought a folding walking stick this week – mainly as an experiment to see if it would help with balance. Um … it does. Which is good news.
I use a reacher because my back is bad and it saves some energy from moving about to get stuff. I noticed that when I went upstairs with the reacher using it as stick for support seemed to help. So that, combined with knowing Rachel had success using a stick, inspired me to try for myself. I bought a fairly cheap one (£9.32 plus VAT) but it’s pretty light yet sturdy and I’m rather pleased with it.
I am really surprised how much it helps – particularly as I am wiped out this week and really weary. It’s not so much for supporting my weight as my arms are too weak for that, but I can see in a desperate situation (like when I had to stand at my friends funeral) it would be a help. Mainly it’s great for balance. I didn’t realise how much I cling onto furniture, walls and doors before we filled in the DLA claim form and I had to really think about it. Using the stick is like having something to steady myself with that moves with me.
I also feel a lot better about the idea of being out in the wheelchair (say at the theatre in December to see the panto) and then walking to the toilet if I have a stick to get me from wheelchair to toilet. Not only will it help with balance but it’s sort of more acceptable to other people I think and will be a visible sign of the struggle I have moving about in those kind of busy social situations.
I never thought a stick would be worthwhile but I’m surprised to say it is. Having practised indoors I’m going to get the courage up to use whilst out. I even have my eye on a rather colourful and funky Switch Stick (I found the purple polka dot one on ebay cheap which I might bid on) for when I’m feeling loud and proud 😉