We moved to a new neighborhood 5 1/2 years ago, and I noticed two guys my age walking frequently, carrying but not using walking sticks. I walk at least four days per week, and soon encountered a very aggressive dog with no collar. I pulled up my crazy and backed him off, but then understood why those two guys carried sticks.
I have had a bum knee, since a meniscus tear in 1993 and a surgery that went very badly. I've attempted running many times since, but it swells up a lot. It's unpredictable, so the stick sometimes helps the walk, but it always backs off the beasts. I was undefeated in pugil sticks in boot camp, and so the defensive aspect is a plus.
We travel and hike some, and a stick lessens the chance for a fall on steep slopes. The same principle applies to geological field trips. Some outcrops are accessed only after a scramble up a steep slope.