A study showing that over 47,000 seniors are treated for falls annually from walkers and canes stated that more need to be shown how to properly use the devices safely, suggesting doctors do so prior to prescribing the mobility devices.
I have another take on this issue. I can't tell you the number of times I've been out and seen folks using canes or walkers when they clearly appear to be in need of a wheelchair. They may lack balance or the stamina, causing them to veer or stumble in a crowd. I'm not questioning the selection of the device for them some of the time, but it's clearly not working out in public in crowds.
I know many of my friends with long term disabilities use more than one type of mobility device, so when I see this, it makes me wonder if doctors are suggesting to seniors that a scooter or wheelchair might be a good idea for longer distances, although a cane or walker works at home. Such an approach might not only prevent falls, but maximizes the mobility of the person. It may conserve their energy so that when they are home alone, they are less likely to fall.
In order for this approach to work, however, we need to get beyond the stigma of using certain devices and certainly have to stop treating their use as an indication of not trying hard enough or failing at recovery. Certainly maximizing function is a good thing, but it becomes counterproductive when someone suffers multiple falls and resultant injuries, as I often see.