Preventing Winter Slips and Falls in Seniors
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Winter is time to celebrate the holidays with friends and family, but it can often be dangerous for the elderly.
Research has consistently shown a higher incidence of slips and falls in winter, especially for older folk. The World Health Organization (WHO)’s Global Report on Falls Prevention in Older Age states that 28-35% of people aged 65 and above and 32-42% of those over 70 fall every year.
From minor injuries to hospitalization and death, falls can be extremely harmful to the elderly. Falling can also result in immobilization, loss of autonomy, confusion, and depression.
In addition to being aware of the dangers of falls, seniors should use tried and true strategies to avoid them and remain safe in the harsh Wisconsin winters. The following are our best tips for preventing winter slips and falls.
1. Wear the Proper Footwear
The key to winter fall prevention is wearing appropriate footwear with the right amount of traction. Icy and snowy weather can worsen balance issues and cause slips that result in devastating injuries. This is especially true for areas like Wisconsin, which are known for their harsh winters. Get a good grip on the ground by wearing shoes with good traction.
For the best shoes for elderly fall prevention, here’s a list of the top 5:
- New Balance 577 – Men’s & Women’s
- Propet Stability X – Men’s & Women’s
- Skechers Go Walk 2 Hypo – Women’s
- Hush Puppies Gil – Men’s
- Propet Olivia – Women’s
It’s also essential to ensure that a senior’s shoes fit well and have non-slip soles that meet the proper safety standards. Footwear being too tight or too loose can also result in slips and falls in winter, which is why many seniors opt for Velcro straps they can adjust easily.
2. Use Mobility Aids
As we grow older, we start to lose our balance, and the sensation in our feet can decline. This can be made worse if individuals suffer from diseases like arthritis or diabetes.
Some seniors use medications that can cause side effects like dizziness, affecting balance, and increasing the risk of slips and falls in winter. Because of these factors and their culmination in balance issues, mobility aids like canes and walkers can be helpful for senior citizens, especially during the colder months when ice and snow are a threat.
3. Shovel Snow and Chip Ice
A lot of winter fall prevention focuses on taking concrete steps to improve the environment around you, including shoveling snow and chipping ice off stairs for elderly citizens.
Since seniors may not always be able to handle this job themselves, they should delegate it to younger family members or helpers. Asking for help with this task goes a long way in preventing winter slips and falls outside your home.
4. Exercise and Stay Active
It’s easy to neglect exercise when you’re older. However, staying active when you’re older can go a long way in preventing winter slips and falls.
Exercising strengthens your muscles and bones and is a big part of winter fall prevention.
5. Dress Appropriately
In addition to wearing the proper footwear, it’s also important to dress appropriately in winter.
This includes warm clothing and accessories like gloves and hats. If seniors are too cold and hurrying, they can tense their muscles or lose balance, resulting in slips and falls in winter.
The winter months can be treacherous for elderly citizens, who must take extra precautions to remain safe and prevent falls during this dangerous time. While it’s not possible to control the weather, it is possible to control the environment around you and your loved one.
Seniors living in assisted living facilities like American Grand, for example, are in an environment that caters to their specific needs with aids like handrails, anti-slip bathmats, clean and shoveled walkways, and more.
Are you interested in a comfortable living experience for yourself or your loved one? Call American Grand at (920) 279-0578 or contact us here to book a personal tour of the facility.