1493071158518 - Walking stick warrant of fitness recommended to reduce fall risk

Walking stick warrant of fitness recommended to reduce fall risk

Walking stick users are being encouraged to bring their canes in for a crucial warrant of fitness. 

More than 673 people aged over 50 are hospitalised every year in Marlborough and Nelson following a fall.

Poor balance is the main cause and health bosses want walking stick users to get them checked.

Blenheim man Barry Meads, 86, suffered a bad fall in March after he lost his balance using a walking stick which once belonged to his father.

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He was left with facial injuries and some of his teeth were knocked out of place after he fell crossing the road.

“The rubber tip came off. It left just the brass on the end which had no grip at all and it just went out from under me.

“I hurt my face and struggled to get up. A bus came along and the driver stopped to help and someone else called an ambulance.”

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Meads says the experience has put him off using the stick again.

“I won’t ever use it again. I would actually have been better off not using it and certainly safer.”

The move follows an April Falls campaign by the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board to help reduce the number of people hurt through falls each year.

Walking sticks can be checked at Access Mobility on Main St, in Blenheim, Community Care Pharmacy inside The Warehouse in Blenheim and Picton Healthcare Pharmacy, High St, Picton.

Access Mobility store manager Bill McElhinney says all walking sticks should be regularly checked for worn tips or handles, to ensure they are the correct height and for any bends and cracks.

“People are all shapes and sizes and it’s definitely not a case of one size fits all.”

The store will check walking sticks for no charge.

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