In my research on exercise for the elderly, I came accross an article on Nordic Walking. The walking technique was developed in Finland ( hence Nordic) in the 1900's as training for cross country skiers. Walkers use poles to push off with each stride, and used properly, this walking gives a whole body workout. The poles help take weight off the weight-bearing joints and increase stability which is great for any age!
Nordic Walking is becoming more popular with seniors in the United States and poles can be purchased on line or at sporting goods stores everywhere. If you are talented enough to make your own poles, make sure the height is correct for your legs and stride, and be certain to install rubber tips that will grip any surface. Wrist straps can be made of velcro and you are good to go!
I'm going to see about a pair of sticks for me and my mother. I'll let you know how that goes.