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Ways To Prevent Falls In The Snow

It’s that time of year again when the snow starts to cover the ground, and trying to prevent falls when walking around outside becomes a top priority, which can be especially important for seniors, as slipping and falling can often lead to severe injuries. But what if there was a way to prevent these kinds of accidents? Well, there are quite a few things seniors can do to help prevent falls in the snow. And this post is designed to help highlight some of them!

The Dangers Of Falling As A Senior

As scary as it sounds, falls are the leading cause of injuries and hospitalizations for seniors. Each year, one in three people aged 65 and over will experience a fall, and 20 to 30 percent of those falls will result in serious injuries such as hip fractures or head trauma. Many of these injuries can lead to long-term disability or even death. Falling is the number one cause of fatal injuries in seniors.

While these numbers may come as a bit of a shock, the intention is not to scare anyone away from enjoying the winter weather. Rather, it’s to highlight how important it is for seniors to be extra cautious when out and about in the snow.

Wear Proper Footwear

Winter brings many potential hazards, from icy sidewalks to slippery steps. One of the best ways to stay safe during winter is to wear proper footwear. Ice and snow can make even the most familiar walking surface treacherous, so choosing shoes or boots that offer good traction is essential. Studded shoes or boots are a good option for icy conditions, while water-resistant footwear can help to keep your feet dry in slushy or wet conditions. 

It’s also essential to ensure that your footwear is warm and comfortable, as cold, wet feet can be a recipe for disaster. Options like wool socks and insulated boots can help keep your feet warm and dry, even on the coldest days.

Walk At A Slow Pace

Walking in the snow can be treacherous, especially for seniors at risk of falling. One way to prevent falls is to walk slowly and deliberately, taking small steps and placing each foot carefully. For some, this may seem a bit silly, but it’s an important way to help avoid unexpected slips and falls.

You can also use techniques like walking with your hands held firmly on a railing or using an assistive cane to help you stay balanced. And if you need to walk up or down a steep slope, take it slowly and place one foot in front of the other until you reach the top.

Take Care When Entering And Exiting Your Car

Every winter, countless people slip and fall on the ice while getting in and out of their cars. While some falls are minor and result in a bruised ego, others can be much more serious, causing broken bones or even head injuries. How can you prevent such a fall from happening to you? First, take care when entering and exiting your car. Make sure you have a firm grip on the door handle before stepping out, and use caution when getting in or out of the car to avoid slipping on the ice.

Wear shoes with good traction to help reduce your risk of falling, if possible. Finally, be aware of your surroundings. If a spot on the pavement looks particularly slick, take a different route to avoid it. By taking these simple precautions, you can help to prevent yourself from becoming another statistic this winter.



Be Mindful Of Black Ice

One of the most dangerous things about winter weather is black ice. This thin layer of ice forms on roads and sidewalks when water from melting snow refreezes. Because it is so transparent, black ice can be practically impossible to see, and it can cause even the most experienced people to lose their footing. To avoid falls and injuries, it is essential to be mindful of black ice when walking in areas where snow has melted and refrozen.

The safest option is to stay on well-traveled paths where the ice has been trampled down. And if you do encounter black ice, take small, shuffling steps until you reach a more stable surface. Taking these precautions can minimize your risk of falling on black ice this winter.

Dress In Layers

Now you might be wondering how this ties into avoiding slips and falls. One of the best ways to prevent falls on snowy or icy surfaces is to dress in layers. Loose, comfortable clothing that allows for freedom of movement is ideal. Make sure to wear a hat or scarf to keep your head and ears warm and gloves or mittens. These layers of clothing will help to insulate your body and prevent you from getting too cold.

If you are too cold and start to shiver, your body will instinctively tense up in an attempt to stay warm, which can leave you more prone to slipping on icy or snowy surfaces. Furthermore, when you get too cold, you may be more tempted to rush and take shortcuts, increasing your risk of falling.

What You Should Do If You Do Fall

Slipping and falling on ice is a common hazard for seniors, who are more likely to experience a fall due to decreased balance and coordination. Staying calm and assessing the situation is essential if you find yourself on the ground. If you’re not injured and can get up without assistance, do so slowly and carefully. Ice can be slippery, so take your time standing up and avoid sudden movements. If you can’t get up on your own, try to crawl to a safe area where you can wait for help.

It’s also important to remember that cold weather can exacerbate existing medical conditions, so even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor after a fall. By knowing how to handle these situations, you can stay safe this winter and reduce your risk of falling on the ice Slipping and falling on ice is a common hazard for seniors, who are more likely to experience a fall due to decreased balance and coordination.

Staying calm and assessing the situation is essential if you find yourself on the ground. If you’re not injured and can get up without assistance, do so slowly and carefully. Ice can be slippery, so take your time standing up and avoid sudden movements. If you can’t get up on your own, try to crawl to a safe area where you can wait for help.

It’s also important to remember that cold weather can exacerbate existing medical conditions, so even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor after a fall. By knowing how to handle these situations, you can stay safe this winter and reduce your risk of falling on the ice.

Take Steps To Prevent Falls In The Snow!

As winter sets in, it is essential to be mindful of the many risks that come with colder weather. And as you have been learning, falls on snow and ice are a real hazard for seniors, which can be prevented by following some simple tips listed above. Whether it’s taking care of your footwear, being alert to black ice, or dressing in layers, there are many ways that you can stay safe this year. So take these precautions seriously, and enjoy a safe and happy winter season!

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