Preventing Senior Falls in Winter
Steps to promote safety during a potentially hazardous season
While winter can be full of cheer and charm, this season also comes with its challenges and potential dangers. Snow, ice, and cold temperatures make it harder for everyone to get around reliably and safely. This is especially concerning for seniors as falls can cause hip and wrist injuries or even head trauma. The CDC states that every two days, an older adult has a fall. Fortunately, with the proper care and attention, you can help set yourself up for safety during the winter season.
Prepare Your Home
Taking the time to prepare your surroundings can make a world of difference.
• Check your outdoor steps and walkways for snow and obstructions. Take your time if you notice wet pavement which could be icy.
• Hire someone to shovel and salt your driveway.
• Have slip mats inside the door of your home to help keep you from slipping when entering your house.
• Make sure you have steady handrails to help support you, especially around hazardous areas like steps
Little risks can snowball quickly during these cold months. Make sure you are taking all the right precautions.
• Ask your doctor to check for orthostatic hypotension. Light-headedness can easily lead to a dangerous fall in these elements, so move positions slowly from sitting or reclining to standing.
• Wear shoes with non-skid soles and pop a cane tip with good traction on the end of your cane to keep walking easy and safe. You could try an ice pick-like attachment on your cane for even more support.
• Check the weather before making plans to leave the house.
• Take all of your vitamins and supplements. Staying as healthy as possible is vital for your reflexes and also to bounce back should an injury occur.
• Watch your alcohol intake, both to keep your body healthy and to keep your senses sharp when walking around.
• Stay fit! If your morning walk isn’t appealing in this weather, find an indoor activity to keep your body in good working condition. This helps prevent falls and helps a speedy recovery should they occur.
• If you have vision problems or degenerative disease, take extra care and perhaps have someone else around for additional aid.
Have A Plan
If something should go wrong, a plan can keep a bad situation from turning worse.
• Make sure you know who you will call and how you will get to a phone should an emergency occur.
• Set up an alert system in your home for emergencies.
• Have someone check in on you at certain times when the weather is potentially hazardous.
• Create an emergency kit to prepare for power outages and keep it easily accessible. Fumbling in the dark looking for emergency items can be dangerous, and a little preparation can keep you inside and safe during a bad storm. In addition to the usual storm supplies (water, food, batteries, first aid kit), don’t forget to have a seven-day supply of your medications.
• Use your support system! Your friends and family want you safe and happy so reach out for help keeping safe this winter.