More Seniors are Using Canes and Walkers

Nancy Gell, an assistant professor of rehabilitation and movement science at the University of Vermont, conducted a study that found that mobility device usage among adults 65 and older went up from 16 percent to 24 percent between 2004 and 2012. A new study showed that canes, walkers and other mobility aids are used by about one-quarter of American seniors. Almost 10 percent of seniors use more than one mobility device.

Experts say this could be due to an aging population and that seniors are realizing they need to keep moving as they age. "It may also be that these devices are just more socially acceptable," said Nancy Gell. "Or that changes in the environment have improved accessibility for those who use them. Or that as people live longer there is simply more disability, and a growing need." Other reasons include:

  • Seniors are becoming more knowledgeable about the risk of falls.
  • Seniors are aging in place and living independently.
  • Seniors have better access to mobility devices such as canes and walkers.

Other findings:

  • The study found that canes are the top choice and scooters are the least popular device.
  • Women were 20 to 30 percent more likely to use a mobility device than men.
  • Seniors who use a mobility device appear no more likely to fall than seniors who did not.
  • Many older adults use more than one mobility device.