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.”
To Prevent Falls This Winter:
- 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 and spreading your feet slightly increases the center of gravity and can reduce the risk of falling. Taking shorter strides is also recommended.
- 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 start to fall, avoid using your hands and arms to prevent the fall as wrist injuries are one of the most common result 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 strength and balance. Residential Home Health’s 4-step fall prevention program increases independence and safety by improving mobility, balance and strength. For more information on StepWise, Residential’s Fall Prevention Program or other home care programs call (888)930-WELL (9355) or click here.