Along with colder temperatures, winter brings us fresh crisp air, crackling fires, and glistening snow. Winter temperatures also pose many health risks, especially for older adults. While falls can happen year-round, winter can be increasingly hazardous for seniors with icy sidewalks and snow-covered roads. Falls can lead to hip fractures and other serious injuries. In fact, each year falls account for more than 2.8 million emergency room visits and 800,000 hospitalizations due to a fall injury.
Here are a few safety tips that everyone, especially older adults, should take this winter…
Outdoor Fall Prevention Tips:
• Wear rubber-soled shoes that provide traction on snow or ice
• Avoid walking on snow and ice by staying on designated walkways
• Try attaching an ice gripper to your cane tip
• Test potentially icy areas by tapping your foot on them
• Carry a small bag of rock salt to sprinkle on slick surfaces
Tips to Fall Safely & Prevent Injury:
Avoiding a fall all together is the best method of prevention. However, learning how to fall safely can help reduce your risk of getting injured when a fall does occur.
• Keep your body relaxed and loose
• Protect your head
• Don’t use your arms to catch yourself
• Keep your legs and arms bent to protect yourself
• Let your bottom take the hit
If you have fallen recently or are having trouble with your balance, talk with your doctor about Physical and Occupational Therapy. Our goal is to identify and address any factors that lead to falls to keep you moving safely and help prevent future falls.