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The cane is a pain, but only having one free hand to use is almost worse

Building off Devendra Natekar's post "I have a cane and I am not afraid to use it," I wanted share my "cane stories."

Photo of Katie Clark
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I wrote something similar to Devendra Natekar's post back in the day about the annoyance of needing a cane, particularly when you are a seemingly healthy person (part 2 of that post here). Beyond the odd looks from friends + strangers, I've always found one of the more annoying parts to be the loss of the use of both hands. One hand is always occupied with the cane which makes opening doors, carrying a hot beverage or a package incredibly awkward, not to mention riding on public transportation. Even when you're carrying a backpack, the issues are constant.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

As you think about what it is like to navigate life as you grow older, consider some of the physical disabilities that come with aging + fall prevention. Here's one exercise: Try managing an entire day (transportation, walking to meetings with your laptop, carrying a child, etc.) with the use of only one hand. It's quite an empathic journey.

Tell us about your work experience:

Yep. I'm a designer at IDEO.


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Photo of Joanna Spoth

Katie! We've heard many comments and stories throughout this Challenge that resonate with yours. Once woman told us she was learning to walk again after an accident and went outside for the first time with her cane as a huge source of pride. She was met with pity and offers to help at every turn, which devalued all the progress she'd made to get outside. She decided to decorate her cane and the response from strangers was 360. It was now a conversation starter instead of a sign of weakness. Another woman told us about how she fashioned a cup holder onto a crutch she needed to use because she can.not exist without her coffee. Thank you for sharing!

Photo of Kate Rushton

Thank you for sharing Katie!

I am going to using just one hand tomorrow. It reminds me of The rolling walker obstacle post. I am going to cc Anne-Laure Fayard here because I think the empathy exercise would be of interest to the NYU students.