Use of canes is on the rise in today’s senior citizens. This may be because proper use of canes is known to have many benefits, including:
- Improved balance
- Reduced risk of falling
- Reduced pain in lower body
These benefits in turn can increase a senior’s mobility, activity level, confidence and mental health.
There are many options and considerations when it comes to canes. Today we will focus on folding canes in particular, as their portability really sets them apart from the rest.
Folding canes are wonderfully mobile! They are easy to throw into a bag or suitcase to have in just in case or use when needed.
Many seniors keep an extra cane in the house, car or office for backup. Some even collect a variety of colorful canes to wear with different outfits!
Today’s top overall pick is the KingGear Adjustable Cane, which folds compactly, comes with two different tips and is available in a variety of stylish colors.
Best Folding Canes for Seniors
Take a look at some of the top folding cane options available today.
1. KingGear Adjustable Cane
The KingGear Adjustable Cane is today’s “best overall” pick because it offers so much in one budget-friendly package: an offset handle design, dual-tip options, great color choices, ultra-lightweight and quality workmanship.
Available in beautiful bold colors like pink, purple, blue, black, and red, the KingGear has something to match everyone’s style.
The KingGear Adjustable Cane’s collapsible design allows it to fold down to 19 inches for easy storage and transport. Weighing just a half of a pound means it can be taken anywhere and everywhere.
The King Gear comes with two tips which can be switched out as needed – a single point and a quad. Both tips are made of high-grip anti-marking rubber. The quad base provides greater stability and allows the cane to stand on its own. The single point tip works well for seniors who have greater confidence and mobility.
The ergonomic padded foam handle is comfortable to grip. Its offset design centers the elder’s weight for greater stability. The KingGear also features an anti-rattle lock to reduce noise when waking for smooth, stress-free walking!
- Weight limit: 250 pounds
- Height: 31″-36″
- Very lightweight
- Comes with two tips included
- Accommodates a large range of heights
- Comfortable foam rubber handle
- No seat
2. Drive Medical Folding Lightweight Adjustable Height Cane Seat
The Drive Medical Folding Cane with Seat is a stable support cane for walking that easily unfolds into a seat. This cane is great for waiting in lines or other locations where frequent, short periods of sitting would be helpful to relieve pain or conserve a senior’s energy.
The Drive Medical Folding Cane with Seat is made of sturdy, lightweight aluminum and weighs in at only 1.3 pounds. It easily folds out into a sturdy tripod stool with vinyl contoured tipped legs for non-slip stability.
The seat is 9 inches in diameter and its height can be adjusted between 19 and 22 inches from the ground.
- Weight limit: 250 pounds
- Height: 34 – 38 inches
- Quick and easy fold out seat
- When folded, it doesn’t easily stand up on its own for storage or to set out of the way
- Some seniors find the three leg design a bit awkward to walk with
3. Vive Folding Cane
The Vive Folding Cane stands out in a crowd thanks to its stylish color options including purple, teal and a butterfly pattern. It is also available in sleek black for a more traditional appeal.
The Vive Folding Cane weighs less than a pound and easily compacts for portability. Its height is adjustable in one-inch increments from 33-37 inches, allowing seniors to get the perfect height for their comfort.
This folding can for elderly individuals also features an ergonomically designed hand grip to minimize hand fatigue and prevent cramping.
This cane comes with a non-slip rubber single point tip for stability on various walking surfaces. Furthermore it is compatible with most replacement tips. This is a wonderful feature for seniors who love the cane’s signature style but would prefer a tripod, quad or ice tip.
Vive offers a lifetime guarantee on this folding cane, so you can purchase it knowing that if it breaks, you’ll be able to get it fixed or replaced.
- Weight limit: 250 pounds
- Height: 33 – 37 inches
- Fun colors
- Adjustable height
- Strong, lightweight aluminum construction
- Seniors less than 5’2″ or 5’3″ may find this cane to be too tall (depending on their arm length)
4. Ohuhu Folding Cane with LED Light
The Ohuhu Folding Cane is a sturdy cane featuring a built-in flashlight to illuminate the path ahead and reduce the risk of stumbling in the dark.
This cane also boasts a unique small quad base with ball-joint “ankle” that provides added flexibility and support when standing up from a chair.
The Ohuhu adjusts to 5 different heights between 33 – 37 inches. The height is adjusted via a unique easy-press button on the handle, rather than the locking pins on the shaft, like many other adjustable canes. This can be an advantage for an individual with arthritis or weakness in their hands.
The Ohuhu cane’s flashlight contains six bright, energy efficient LED bulbs that use four LR44 batteries (which come with the cane), and the angle of the flashlight can be adjusted so that it properly lights the pathway ahead.
The Ohuhu’s unique quad base offers excellent support and features rubber non-slip grip, with the base being smaller than most quad bases. This can be a nice bonus because it offers the extra stability of a quad, but the smaller footprint is not as likely to get in the way.
The base also features an innovative pivoting swivel feature which increases support on a variety of surfaces, including inclines and uneven terrain.
Built from a sturdy, lightweight aluminum alloy, this Ohuhu Folding Cane weighs just over one pound.
- Weight limit: 250 pounds
- Height: 33 – 37 inches
- Adjustable LED flashlight built in to handle
- Height is adjustable easily via button
- Unique small quad base for stability without bulkiness
- May not fit very short or very tall people properly – be sure to measure before ordering
5. Switch Sticks Adjustable Folding Walking Cane
The Switch Sticks Adjustable Folding Cane is part support device and part fashion accessory. Women love matching these fun, eye-catching designs with different outfits!
The Switch Sticks Folding Cane weighs less than one pound, thanks to its lightweight, sturdy aluminum shaft. Its real wooden handle is painted in a fun, coordinating color.
The contoured wooden handle has been ergonomically designed to reduce hand fatigue. Many seniors find it very comfortable as it is, while others prefer to cover it in tennis racquet wrap for added padding.
The Switch Sticks’ height can be adjusted between 32-37 inches in one inch increments. This is lower than most other folding canes, so it’s ideal for accommodating seniors of shorter height.
The Switch Sticks Cane features a slip-resistant rubber single point tip, which can be replaced with an alternate tip if desired.
- Weight limit: 264 pounds
- Height: 32 – 37 inches
- Comes in an elegant gift box
- Unique fashionable designs
- Adjustable to a larger range, including lower heights than other canes
- Folding this cane requires a little more hand strength than some other folding cane options
6. Switch Sticks Folding Walking Cane with Seat
The Switch Sticks Folding Walking Cane with Seat provides balance assistance for seniors while walking and a convenient resting surface whenever needed.
Whether traveling, shopping, moving about the house or going for a stroll, this portable seat can conserve an elder’s stamina and enable them to participate in more of the activities they want to do. With the colorful and lighthearted design, they will also look great doing it!
The Switch Sticks features a comfortable contoured wooden handle. Its frame is constructed from sturdy lightweight aluminum, so the entire unit weighs in at only two pounds.
The Switch Sticks Cane is 34 inches tall and is generally suitable for people between 5′ and 5′ 10″ tall. The seat sits 20 inches up from the ground.
This cane’s tripod design easily folds up flat for walking or compact storage. It also folds down into a portable stool, while the cane’s slip-resistant rubber tips provide extra stability both when walking and when seated.
- Weight limit: 220 pounds
- Height: 34 inches
- Easy fold out seat
- Fashion-forward design
- Height is not adjustable
- May not be suitable for seniors needing a high level of support
7. Duro-Med Designer Folding Walking Cane
The Duro-Med Designer Folding Cane is an extremely lightweight and very distinguished walking stick at a surprisingly affordable price.
Constructed from anodized aluminum for strength, durability, and lightweight versatility, the Duro-Med Designer Folding Cane weighs only one-half pound, making it the most lightweight cane on our list.
It is available in several distinguished design options, including a lovely beige floral, a rich blue cyclone, and a handsome blue ice.
- Weight limit: 250 pounds
- Height: 33 – 37 inches
- Folds compactly
- No wrist strap
- Doesn’t stand or prop up easily
The HurryCane Freedom Edition Folding Cane is one of the top selling canes on Amazon, with thousands of users voicing their enjoyment of this cane over many years of use.
The HurryCane Freedom features a unique ergonomic design and innovative pivot-swivel technology for non-slip stability indoors or out. The HurryCane is one of the best selling folding canes in the nation and this Freedom Edition supports a higher weight capacity than most other canes.
Key features include:
- Adjustable to 8 different heights, accommodating seniors of most heights
- Designed for use in most terrain
- High-traction non-skid rubber footing
- Ergonomic comfort handle
- Supports more weight than other canes – up to 350 pounds
The HurryCane weighs only one pound and easily folds down to a 13.7 inch length for portability.
This cane also features a three point tripod base and high-traction “SteadyGrip” technology. This ensures excellent stability even on rough outdoor terrain.
The pivoting “WhisperFlex” joint above the base automatically adjusts its angle, swivel and tilt for strong, flexible support on inclines or uneven terrain.
Thanks to its tripod design, the HurryCane stands up by itself. Users love this feature because it is so convenient to stand it nearby without having to find something to lean it against or hang it on. There are no worries about it sliding to the ground becoming difficult or dangerous to retrieve.
The HurryCane is available in several fun colors, including red, purple, blue and black to complement a variety of unique styles.
- Weight limit: 350 pounds
- Height: 30.5 – 37.5 inches
- Easily compacts to a small size
- Unique stabilization and non-slip technology
- Use on multiple terrains
- Tripod base cannot be replaced with single point or quad if needs change
- Handle or tip replacements must be purchased from the company, not compatible with standard generic replacements
How to Choose a Folding Cane for an Elderly Individual
Seniors with significant balance, strength or mobility issues should consult with their doctor and a physical therapist about the best type of mobility device to meet their unique needs.
Seniors may also benefit from a physical therapist’s personalized training and feedback when initially learning to use a cane. Improper use can contribute to unnecessary pain, exhaustion or injury.
There are a number of factors that matter very much when selecting any cane, including:
- Weight support capacity
- Amount of weight support needed
- Weight of the cane
- Height and arm length
- Cane’s material and durability
- Type of handle
- Number of legs/points
- Cane tip types
When browsing canes, consider:
- Is the aesthetic style of the cane important to the individual?
- What types of terrain will it need to traverse?
- Will it need to be weather resistant?
- How long or how often will it be used?
- Will the senior’s needs likely change during use? Will they be gaining or losing strength or balance?
- Would a seat be beneficial?
- Would a light be needed?
For folding canes specifically, ask yourself:
- How compactly will it need to fold up?
- Where will it be stored / transported?
Features to Consider in a Folding Cane
Because choosing the right cane is so important to one’s mobility – and quality of life – it is vital to choose the right cane with the right array of features.
Each individual will have a unique mix of needs and preferences, so there is no one best choice for all. Consider the following features when deciding on a folding cane.
1. Weight Support Capacity
It is important to mind the weight limit on a cane so that the cane doesn’t break. Never use a product that has a lower weight capacity that doesn’t match the individual using it.
2. Amount of Weight Support Needed
Some people need just a little balance support, while others place a good deal of weight on the cane.
While taking weight off of knees or joints is one of the primary benefits of a cane, they are never intended to support more than 25% of a person’s weight.
If additional support is needed, a walker may be a better choice.
3. Weight of the Cane
The lightest weight canes weigh less than a pound and the heavier ones can weigh considerably more. Carrying a cane that is too heavy can cause fatigue or worsen joint pain.
In general, it’s a good idea to choose the lightest-weight cane that can comfortably support your weight and meet your needs for durability.
4. Height and Arm Length
A person’s height and arm length are vital to finding the proper fit for a cane. See specifics for how to measure for a cane below.
Using a cane that is too short can contribute to back pain and a cane that is set too tall can strain one’s shoulders, neck, and upper back.
5. Adjustable Height
Some canes allow for their height to be adjusted – usually through a rounded pin that protrudes through one of several holes. If the height needs to be adjusted, manually press the pin into the cane and extend or compress it as needed.
Adjustable height canes can be a convenient way to find a proper fit. Alternatives include purchasing a custom made cane, finding a cane in the exact height needed, or cutting a solid cane to the proper height.
6. The Cane’s Material: Durability and Style
Having a cane that matches their personal style can make a big difference to some seniors, especially those who may be self-conscious about using a cane.
Luckily, there are a number of unique and attractive choices available, that can turn a folding cane into somewhat of a fashion accessory. Some individuals even have an array of canes to match different moods or outfits!
Style can make a difference to a senior’s mental health, but the material it’s made from can also affect a cane’s performance and cannot be overlooked when making a selection.
Frail seniors, or those with limited strength or stamina, should opt for a lightweight cane. Aluminum alloy is the most lightweight material commonly used in folding canes.
In addition to being lightweight, aluminum alloys are weather resistant and can be very strong. It can support people weighing up to 350 pounds in some cases. It is important not to exceed the stated weight limit.
Wooden canes can be very beautiful, distinguished, or elegant, but they can require more maintenance to keep them in good shape. Wooden canes can be susceptible to weaknesses including breaks, splintering, and wear and tear.
Wooden canes can be heavy and cannot generally be folded. Their height can usually be shortened by cutting them, but they are not typically adjustable.
Most wooden walking sticks sold are just that – walking sticks. Walking sticks are primarily decorative and not intended to provide weight support or aid in balance.
Steel canes are very heavy and are rarely used for canes, although they can be very good for larger, strong individuals who require a great deal of support.
Carbon fiber is lightweight, very strong and weather resistant. It can also be very attractive. Carbon fiber is not often used for canes simply due to its expense.
7. Type of Handle Grip: What Kind of Handle Should a Walking Cane Have?
Before discussing the best type of handle for a walking cane, it’s important to understand the difference between a walking cane and a walking stick.
Although the terms are sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably, they are different from one another.
Walking sticks are first and foremost fashionable accessories that may offer the user a small amount of balance assistance in uneven terrain. They don’t offer weight support or aid significantly with balance.
Walking sticks may sport decorative handles such as knobs, carved animals or other such shapes.
While beautiful, these types of handles are not appropriate to grip for extended periods. Doing so would contribute to hand cramping and fatigue.
Walking canes, on the other hand, are designed to assist elders, people with disabilities or those recovering from injuries or surgeries with balance and some weight support.
Walking canes offer a variety of handle shapes to accommodate different needs.
Walking cane handles are often ergonomically designed to reduce hand fatigue and discomfort. They are sometimes covered in foam, padding or other material for comfort.
Tennis racquet tape can be applied to a bare handle if padding is desired. Some seniors find a non-padded option to be more comfortable and easier to clean.
Offset handles are designed to improve the user’s balance via the large bend at the top of the cane. The bend distributes the senior’s weight evenly throughout the cane for improved sturdiness and support.
Derby, Fritz, Shovel, and T-handles are all somewhat similar in their vaguely T-shaped design. The flatter top provides a comfortable handhold.
Due to their shape, these handles tend not to stay put when hung on a doorknob or the back of a chair. This means they can easily slip to the floor and be difficult or dangerous to retrieve. A wrist strap can be a big help in hanging them securely.
Molded Grip Handles
Some cane handles – such as the Palm Grip, Fisher, Anatomical or Contour Grip handles – are molded specifically for use in either the left or right hand. These handles are designed for comfort and security for those with hand pain or who lack the ability to grip well.
8. Number of Cane Legs
By default, standard canes generally come with one leg, or point.
Single Point Canes
Compared to their multi-leg counterparts, single point canes are:
- Easy to maneuver
- Easy to store
- Easy to transport
- Less supportive
- Less sturdy
As long as a single point cane will provide adequate support and stability, they are a good choice.
Tripod / Quad
Three and four-point canes can be more awkward or cumbersome to maneuver than single-point canes, because of their larger footprint.
They do have several advantages over the single point canes, however. Advantages include:
- Increased stability
- Better balance support
- They often can stand on their own, which can be very convenient. Finding a place to hang, lean or lay a cane can be a challenge, and picking one up from the ground can really be the pits.
Some canes allow for the point to be replaced with a different style if needed. This could be useful if a senior’s need for support is anticipated to increase over time, or decrease as they recover from surgery, for example.
9. Does the Type of Cane Tip Make a Difference?
Most cane tips are made from non-slip rubber and must be replaced periodically with normal wear and tear.
Standard cane tips are designed for a variety of indoor and outdoor surfaces. However, they don’t necessarily work wonderfully on every type of terrain.
Specialty cane tips are designed to reduce impact or improve a person’s walking posture and safety in particular circumstances such as:
- Uneven terrain
- Wet leaves
Some specialty tips provide a ball joint that mimics the motion of a human ankle. These enhance support from a variety of angels, including when standing up from a sitting position.
To replace a cane tip, simply slip off the old one and slide on the new.
Some walking canes feature a fold-out seat. Although it can be more awkward to walk with in some cases, having a seat handy can enable many elders to do much more than they otherwise could.
Seniors who benefit from conserving stamina, or who need to sit frequently to relieve back, leg, or foot pain, may find that a cane with a seat can be a life-changer by enabling them to participate in meaningful activities.
Shopping, waiting in lines, traveling or simply going out for a stroll can become much less of a barrier if they are able to sit and recover when needed.
These seats aren’t designed, or necessarily comfortable for, long periods of sitting.
A folding cane with a seat requires that the senior be mentally and physically able to get on and off the seat safely. The seats unfold easily enough and should not be a challenge for seniors without impairments, but they may be difficult or dangerous for confused individuals or those with significant weakness or balance problems.
The seats should be used on flat ground and the senior sits facing the handle. They are a little heavier than canes without seats. Their three-leg design sacrifices some support and can be awkward for some seniors.
11. LED Lights
Some canes have flashlights built-in, which can be a huge benefit for elderly individuals with poor eyesight, or those who need to navigate dimly lit areas.
If a senior will be walking outdoors at dusk, a reflective strip may be a good idea for added visibility.
12. Compact Size & Portability
One of the primary reasons for selecting a folding cane is that it can be stored or transported compactly when not in use.
Consider where your cane will need to fit – a handbag, a suitcase or a vehicle’s glove box? Folding canes vary quite a bit in size when compacted. Before purchasing, be sure that it will fit where you need it.
13. Wrist Strap
A wrist strap can be a great addition for a senior who has arthritis, weak grip, or a tendency to drop their cane.
Wrist straps also make hanging canes much easier in some cases. Leaning a cane against a wall or chair can result in it slipping to the floor. Retrieving a cane from the floor can range from inconvenient to dangerous to downright impossible for some individuals.
How to Measure For a Cane
Finding the proper fit for a cane is important. An improperly sized cane can affect a senior’s balance or cause them to exert excessive energy to use it. Spending too much energy can discourage them from walking, tire them out prematurely or affect their balance and increase their risk of falling.
To measure for a proper fit, an elderly individual should wear their usual walking shoes and stand with their arm relaxed at their side. Their elbow should be comfortably and naturally bent at about 15-20 degrees. Measure the distance from the floor to their wrist.
If an exact measurement cannot be accomplished, a size can be approximated using this simple method:
- Obtain the person’s height in inches
- Divide the height by two
- Add one half inch
For example, a person who is 5 feet tall (60 inches) would need a 30.5 inch cane.
There is some variability depending on arm length, so if possible, always measure the exact distance from floor to wrist.
As a recap, our top choice for folding canes is the KingGear Adjustable Cane. It offers many benefits packed into one budget-friendly package. It is likely to work very well for almost anyone.
What has your experience been like with folding canes? Are you a senior or have a senior in your life who uses a folding cane? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Last update on 2020-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API