Helping Seniors Avoid Winter Slips and Falls

by Scott Burglechener on Feb 24, 2015 3:07:00 PM

As we grow older, slips and falls can be very dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in three seniors over the age of 65 falls each year. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of those who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries that may cause mobility issues and decrease longevity. Slippery conditions and obstructed views of walkways caused by winter weather can increase the risks of slips and falls for seniors in Minnetonka. There are several ways that caregivers and family members can help seniors to avoid winter slips and falls.

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Prepare for Winter Weather

Having a plan in place for the driveway to be plowed and the sidewalks to be salted can help protect seniors from falls. Caregivers or family members can help make arrangements for a service or can assist with these tasks when winter weather strikes to ensure safety. When regularly traveled areas at a senior’s residence are well-tended, safety is improved.

Ensure That Slip-Resistant Footwear Is Worn

Wearing boots or other footwear that is designed specifically to provide traction and protection during the winter can help seniors to avoid slips and falls. If walking aids such as canes or walkers are used, caregivers or family members can help seniors add items that may improve the traction on these devices, as well. It may also be helpful for seniors or caregivers to carry small bags of salt or sand when going out, to provide traction in areas that have not been salted.

Encourage Regular Exercise

Falls are less likely when the muscles are firm and strong. Seniors may also be more likely to break a fall and prevent serious injuries when reflexes have been honed by regular exercise. Caregivers and family members can assist seniors with exercising or even participate in exercise programs with seniors to provide support and encouragement.

Provide Assistance with Traveling

Assistance can be very beneficial to seniors during the icy winter months. A caregiver can help seniors with mobility aids, push a wheelchair, or offer a helping hand that can help seniors avoid falls when travelling over difficult or slippery terrain. Caregivers can also seek assistance if a senior does fall, which may help to lessen the severity of injuries.  

Encourage Seniors to Stay Indoors When Icy

On days when conditions are adverse, caregivers can help seniors to avoid slips and falls by encouraging seniors to stay inside unless it is absolutely necessary to go outside. Retrieving the paper or mail can wait until conditions have cleared and walkways are safer. Caregivers may also be able to help seniors by running errands and retrieving medications so that it is not necessary to travel outside of the home when conditions are conducive to slips and falls.

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This post was written by Scott Burglechener

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