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#24 White Cane -

Before I talk about Millie and how her white cane helped her mobility, I want to give an update regarding Be My Eyes (see previous blog). I called the phone app and volunteered! Much to my disappointment no one has called me for assistance. They have many more volunteers than they do help-seekers. I would love to help someone “see” something and will be sure to report what kind of help they ask for. Check my previous blog if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Now, speaking of white canes – Millie thought of her cane as a security blanket. She didn’t leave home without it.

“I love to walk and with the help of the cane, I know where the sidewalk is uneven, if something is in front of me on the sidewalk, and where the intersection is. Also, people see the white cane and offer me all kinds of help.”

This last advantage was terrific because Millie didn’t appear to be blind.

Some people are shy to use a cane, thinking “People will know I’m blind.” So what? Many people already know if you are blind. Using a cane shows your independence!

Millie learned how to use her cane when the low vision therapist visited in her apartment and offered all kinds of kitchen and living hints (see blogs 13 and 14). The instructions for the white cane were only part of what Millie learned that day.

If you Google “using a white cane” or “white cane instruction” or “you-tube with a white cane” you can see demonstrations of its use. It’s best to have a mobility therapist teach the use of the cane, but these references can help to review the teachings.

Here are a couple of excellent web sites.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPiPXGn4nno An ad appears at the beginning and in the middle, but they can be skipped. Lots of detail in this 23 minute YouTube. The cane they use to demonstrate is not always the fold up kind. For example, they demonstrate how to get a cane in and out of the car. This is not a problem with the fold up cane.

Another walking tip: When walking with a blind person, let them hold your elbow, rather than you hold their arm and trying to guide them where to go. “I like to follow someone,” Millie said. “People always like to hold on to my arm and guide me. Not good. Better if I hold on to their elbow.”