With the weather getting colder, one of the most threatening winter hazards is the possibility of slipping and falling on patches of ice or snow. Falls are the leading cause of injury, immobility and nursing home placement for seniors and when it comes to a fall, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Here are some tips to help avoid falls this season.
- Be cautious and alert as you walk and make sure to watch out for areas that may have black ice, particularly those without direct sunlight.
- Wear shoes with non-skid soles such as rubber or neoprene. Smooth sole “comfort” shoes should not be worn outside in snowy and icy conditions.
- Stay active. Improving strength and balance can prevent falls.
- Keep your walkways clear. Remove snow immediately before it turns to ice. If walkways turn icy, use salt or potassium-based melters.
- Use handrails when going up and down the stairs.
- Bending your knees and spreading your feet slightly increases the center of gravity and can reduce the risk of falling. Taking shorter strides is also helpful.
- Use your cane or walker as recommended by your doctor or therapist. Recommendation: Add gripper tips to the end of your cane or walker for additional traction on icy walkways.
- Do not wear clothes that are too loose or long as they can be tripping hazards.
If you do start to fall…
If you start to fall, avoid using your hands and arms to catch yourself as wrist injuries are one of the most common results of falls. Instead, tuck your chin and try to fall on your buttocks.
If you have concerns about falling or have had a recent fall, home health care may be beneficial to improve your strength and balance.
For additional suggestions on how you can minimize the risk of falling in and around your home, download our free Home Safety Tips Guide and minimize your risk of falling this winter.