If you or anybody you know needs to use a walking stick or some kind of walking aid in their daily lives but are reluctant to do so for whatever reason, then here is an update on what is available on the market today that may help to change your or their mind.
First of all you need to identify what a stick would be used for. Would it be useful to have a stick that turns into a seat to be used when waiting in a long queue (at the airport for example) when there is not a readily available seat? Or would it be nice to have a strong, reliable walking stick that looks like a hiking pole instead of a mobility aid?
Many people, particularly young people or people who have had an accident do not want to use a stick for support. I think the main reason for this is that the thought of a walking stick conjures up images of NHS, bulky and unattractive sticks and people are unaware of the sportier, more attractive sticks available.
To take a fresh look at what is available these days, a good place to start looking is on the internet. Sticks today can be bought in funky metallic pink, designer patterns, pretty florals or sporty styles. You can buy sticks that look like umbrellas but have the strength to support a person and have different walking stick style handles, not just crooks. Whatever your taste or favorite colour, you are sure to find something to suit.
Other considerations are whether a stick would be more of a hindrance than a help. If a stick may only be needed for occasional use then you do not want to be carrying it around all of the time unnecessarily. You would not be wanting something too heavy in this case either. Well, the solution is to get a foldable walking stick. One that can be stowed away in a handbag or (for men) in a jacket pocket. These sticks tend to be very lightweight but strong and reliable when it comes to supporting the user..
Carbon fibre walking sticks are also a brilliant solution. Some weigh only 250 grams but are incredibly strong (ten times stronger than aluminium sticks).
Also it is worth keeping up with the ever increasing pace of technology and innovation. For example, if its a stick for the blind that is needed, you know one that is painted all-white for increased visibility, there is now talk of a handheld wireless sensor the size of a television remote control that may soon replace the white canes and other walking sticks that have guided the blind for centuries. The sensor is designed to detect obstacles in the way and a working model of the magic wand has not been built yet but give it time...
Sticks designed for the country walker and for other outdoor pursuits such as shooting or bird watching are another more attractive idea. Thumb sticks and waders are tall staff like sticks than provide a support to lean on. These are traditionally made from Hazel, Ash or Chestnut and can of course be personalised to suit. A deer antler can add a nice touch and a good talking point. Shooting sticks are both a seat and a supportive stick and are usually made from aluminium and steel with a leather seat and strap.
So there you have it, a walking stick does not have to be just a stick, it can be an umbrella, a seat and a great looking accessory as well.