Winter Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors

As we get older, it is hard enough to stay upright without all the daunting additions of ice, wet walks, snow, and sleet...

Profile PicAh, winter. Blizzards, freezing temperatures, visiting the ER because you fell on the ice. For kids, winter is an exciting time. They love playing in the snow and sliding around on the ice. For senior citizens, all that ice and snow means an increased chance of slipping and falling. Here are eight things you can do to make winter a little less perilous:
Check your footwear. Examine your shoes and boots. How's the traction? Is it time for a new pair? Better traction can help keep you more stable on icy surfaces.

Keep your shovel and salt in your house. The reason you have a shovel and salt is so you don't have to walk on a slippery sidewalk. If you have to traverse through the snow and ice to get to your garage where the salt and shovel are kept, that defeats the purpose.

Check the railings. If you have railings leading up to your front door, check to see if they're sturdy. If you slipped, would they be able to support you?

Bring a cell phone when you leave the house. If you fall, it can sometimes be hard to get up. Carrying a cell phone whenever you go out can bring peace of mind.

Slow down. Allow extra time if it's slippery out. It's when you hurry that you end up pushing the envelope of what your balance can handle. Also, keep in mind that being a little late is better than rushing and causing a fall.

Ask for help. If you have to walk across an icy sidewalk or parking lot, try to find a steady arm to lean on. Most people are happy to help an older person navigate a slippery walkway? You just have to ask.

Have a plan. When you are going out, ask yourself, "If I slipped and fell here, what would I do?"

Strengthen your legs. Strong leg muscles can help you steady yourself if you slip. And if you do fall, they make it a lot easier to get back up. You should exercise your legs regularly to keep them strong. Try walking up and down your stairs repeatedly or do a set of ten squats out of a chair a couple times per week.

These little things, when used together, can make the winter elements a little less daunting.

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