Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
Choosing a white cane is not an easy task. I wrote this article to tell you about my favorite type of white cane.
The National federation for the blind Telescoping White Cane is the type of cane that works best for my life style. I have used a white cane for the past ten years (2003-2013). After, sampling several different types of canes I chose the NFB Telescoping White Cane. I like the cane because of the following reasons:
1. The telescoping cane for me is the easiest type of cane to fold or unfold. Unfolding the cane is completed by simply holding the top of the cane while pulling the tip end from the bottom extending the cane. Folding the cane is accomplished by lifting the cane holding the top and then tapping the cane against the ground causing the sections of the cane to slide inside the handle leaving you with a cane about the length of a ruler (twelve inches). The cane works great for the person who has to frequently fold or unfold his/her cane. The process is simple and easy.
2. The cane is very light reducing the strain on the hand, arm or shoulder. Great if a person has to walk long distances or use an extended cane for a long time.
3. I believe the cane gives the most feedback to the user about the surface a user is traveling. Because of the hollow design, lightweight and metal tip sensations/vibrations are easily transferred along the cane providing information helpful to the user. The cane is easier to use in surfaces such as rocky ground, grass, dirt or uneven levels.
4. I found the cane is easier to use when going up and down stairs because of the lightweight and the way the cane folds into a small easy to carry size. The lightweight and size prevents becoming unbalanced on the stairs unlike the situation a heavier bulky folding cane can cause. I have felt clumsy when using a folding aluminum cane going up and down stairs.
The telescoping cane is not perfect. Therefore, in fairness to the other types of canes I am including the disadvantages I found concerning a telescoping cane.
1. The durability of the telescoping cane is low. The cane when unfolded is easy to crush if bent stepped on (especially if laying flat) or twisted. A cane traveler must use caution when walking and tapping the cane from side to side to prevent cracking the cane by hitting a solid object above the tip of the cane. Because the cane sections are hollow, they are easier to crack or break.
2. When the metal tip wears down, the tip becomes easy to stick or hang into a sidewalk crack causing the cane to fold up while traveling. A user who slides a cane flat across the surface in front of them while traveling would not like a telescoping cane. Because of the pressure applied when sliding the cane would cause the cane to fold.
3. Replacing the metal tip is not an easy task. The rubbery part of the tip must be pushed over the head of a screw at the end of the cane, which requires strength in the hands and arms. Then securing the tip you must tap the tip on the ground. Remember to fold the cane it is tapped on the ground so you must hold the last section of the cane and tap it on the ground to secure the tip, which is not easy to do.
Trial and error along with travel experiences over the years are the factors that led me to the use of the NFB Telescoping White Cane.
The NFB telescoping cane can be ordered from the online product store found at: www.nfb.org.
**Specific ordering information:
Item # ACG63T - NFB Type 7 Carbon fiber Telescoping Cane Ė 63 inches 5-6 section
I have not (nor do I expect to) receive any form of compensation for writing this article.