As people get older, their chances of falling drastically increase. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that 1 in 3 adults over 65 years old falls every year. While many factors contribute to an increased risk of experiencing an incident, winter conditions like ice and snow make it more likely that seniors will fall if they aren't exercising caution.
While you shouldn't feel like you can't go outside in the winter from fear of falling, it is important that you understand how to reduce your risk of falls. Everything from the shoes you wear to how well you prepare your home can contribute to how likely you are to slip or trip this season.
As the temperature begins to drop and snow takes over the weather forecasts, you should take note of these fall prevention tips to enhance your winter safety this year.
1. Have the necessary tools ready
Stock up on items you'll need to stay safe once the winter weather hits. For example, have a shovel in your garage in case an emergency occurs and you need to get out of the house but you're snowed in. Buy a bag of salt at your local hardware store to sprinkle on the walkways you use frequently to make slipping on ice or snow less likely.
You should also have a couple of flashlights handy with extra batteries in case of a power outage. If you live alone and lengthy outages are common in your area, it may be worth it to look into buying a backup generator.
2. Improve your lighting
Just as the inside of your home should be well lit, you should have all of your pathways illuminated outside. If a friend or loved one drops you off at home when it's dark out, you'll be happy that you have motion-sensor flood lights to guide you as you walk to your front door. It's also nice to have these for other people who visit.
3. Reach out for help
You may need more assistance with everyday tasks during the winter and you shouldn't be afraid or hesitant to ask friends or family to help you. Getting the mail, for example, may be challenging if the ground is covered in ice. Ask a neighbor if he wouldn't mind bringing you your mail when he gets his. Don't strain your back or overexert yourself trying to shovel or salt your walkways either. Ask a loved one for a helping hand.
If you live on your own and have been thinking about making the transition to an assisted living community, the winter may be a good time to do so. You'll be surrounded by friends with opportunities to participate in indoor exercise programs and social activities during periods where winter weather makes venturing outside dangerous. Full-time caregivers are also there to provide you with assistance when needed to reduce your risk of falls.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living