A WOF for your walk­ing stick

Marlborough Midweek - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - PAULA HULBURT

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. 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.’’

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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