Winter Safety – Tips to Avoid Falls
Wintertime is one of the most anticipated seasons since we look forward to celebrating the holidays with our loved ones along with the chance of seeing snow either for our very first time or the millionth time. Although winter and the holidays should be filled with happy and loving memories, it does not always end up like that, especially for the elderly population. According to the National Council on Aging, every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall. Although older adults are more susceptible to fall no matter what time of the year it is, during the winter season, the chances of falling and becoming injured increases due to the icy conditions. More than 2.8 million injuries are treated in emergency rooms and to avoid being part of these statistics, we have some tips to help you or your loved ones from getting injured or worse.
Watch the Weather
Keeping an eye out on the weather is essential no matter what we are doing since it gives us a heads up on what to expect. If we must head out somewhere and the weather conditions are icy or worse than planning our trip around the weather is important to keep safe. Instead of going out in a storm or when black ice is out, don’t go out and wait for the weather and travel conditions to become clear and calm. However, if we still must head out in these conditions then leaving way ahead of time will prevent any problems from occurring since this decreases our need to rush.
Not only do we have to keep an eye out on the weather to plan our trips to the grocery store, work and so on, but we must be sure to clear our walking paths. Before we do anything, we must make sure the pavement around our home is shoveled and de-iced. It is also important to clean our shoes before we head into our homes too. Any kind of floor we walk on, whether it is inside or outside, should be kept clear and as dry as possible.
Removing any obstacles in our homes is important since it can stop us from tripping and harming ourselves along with any of our elderly family members. We need to be sure to declutter our home and our stairs of any shoes, toys or anything else to prevent us or anyone else from stumbling on them and becoming seriously injured. If there are any loose cables or throw rugs that might trip someone then securing them will keep elderly visitors away from harm.
Although the holiday season is finally over, it does not mean that drinking alcohol will stop which is why we recommend watching everyone’s alcohol intake. This is important because we never know how alcohol interferes with our medications, especially our elderly friends. We need to be weary when having drinks with an old pal, family member and so on; you never know what medication they are taking or if they have a balancing problem or more.
Choosing the right footwear for us is crucial because it provides so many good benefits for our feet. If we are wearing shoes that do not fit us properly then we increase our chances of hurting our feet and falling because shoes that do not fit us can restrict our feet and make it hard to walk properly. When picking shoes, we need to look for some that are sturdy, supportive and have good grip to prevent falling. If we still cannot find the perfect shoes for us then custom shoes might be the best option. However, we need to keep in mind that even our favorite shoes do not last forever, which is why we need to replace them once they are worn out. Prolonging buying new ones even if they keep our feet comfortable and safe will not us in the long run.
No matter what we are doing or where we are going, we need to always stay smart, alert and dress appropriately, especially during the wintertime. Although we can attempt to expect the unexpected, we won’t always be prepared for our next fall. Therefore, we need to dress appropriately even if we are headed to get the mail. If a fall happens and we are just in our slippers and a robe during the winter, then we will be leaving ourselves exposed to the cold temperatures along with dealing with our injuries. Instead of wearing a robe and slippers, we need to change into warm clothes immediately if we are headed outside and bring a cellphone just in case a disaster occurs.