8 Winter Weather Fall Prevention Tips
Story submitted by Stephanie Lambers, M.ED, OTR/L, TriHealth ThinkFirst Injury Prevention
Falling is not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. By knowing and managing your risk factors, you can live a full and active life, free of the fear of falling.
Winter weather conditions increase the risk of taking a potentially life-changing fall. Here are eight tips to help you stay Winter STEADY:
Tip #1. Invest in Lights
Extra lamps, nightlights and exterior lights allow you to see where you are walking, especially around doorways and stairs. Use the highest-wattage bulbs recommended for your fixtures.
Tip #2. Buy Winter Clothes in Your Size
Coats, gloves, hats and other winter clothing are designed to keep you warm, but items that are bulky, or don't fit well, can catch on nearby objects and increase your risk of falling.
Tip #3. Buy Shoes in Your Size and With Good Tread
Wear boots and shoes that fit properly, and have soles with good traction. Snow boots, hiking boots or shoe traction covers (such as Yaktrax)* provide the best traction.
Tip #4. Stay Ice Free
Keep shoes and walking aids (canes, walkers) dry and free of snow, ice, dirt and mud. An ice cane tip*, made to provide traction for your cane, can be helpful.
Tip #5. Make Sure Outdoor Walkways Are Clear
Keep sidewalks and stairs outside your home clean of ice and snow. Make sure steps leading into your home have sturdy handrails that can support you if you slip.
Tip #6. Keep Indoor Hallways Clear of Cords
Keep space heaters, cords and blankets out of walkways. If you must use throw rugs on cold floors, secure them to the floor with tape.
Tip #7. Keep Your Cell Phone With You
Carry a cell phone at all times and designate someone to call for help if you need it. Do not walk to the mailbox without a phone with you. Have a neighbor get your mail if possible in colder weather. Let loved ones know when you are leaving the house and when you expect to be back; call them once you return home.
Tip #8. Remain Active
Maintain regular physical activity to ensure you have the strength and balance you need to prevent falls. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about easy indoor exercises, and seek opportunities to be active.
*These safety items can be ordered on Amazon or at a local retailer.