Prevent Falls- Walking Tips in Snow and Mud

Walking outdoors in Northeast Ohio this time of the year can be an adventure.  It is hard to even tell day to day whether it is winter or spring this April.  When a senior falls, there is a significant risk of injury that can result in decreased independence.  Below are some tips things that can help prevent falling. 

Winter Walkway

Proper Footwear- Often seniors switch to footwear that is easy to slip on and off.  Sometimes the soles of this footwear can have reduced tread and easier to slip and fall when walking outdoors due to the reduced traction.  Choosing footwear designed for the outdoors with rubber bottoms or adding snow grabbers to the bottoms of footwear can help.  Snow grabbers easily slip on and off and can easily be stored when not in use. 

Walking Aids- a special ice grip cane tip can be added to a cane which will add prongs to grip the ground and add extra stability.  There are versions that either flip out of the way or are retractable for when they are not needed.  Using a walker can help increase stability and prevent a fall.

Wet Surfaces- it isn't just the outdoors that is problematic but also how slippery indoor surfaces can become when they become wet with people tracking snow and water inside.  Slips and falls in garages and just inside doors are common this time of the year and bring extra risk.  If exposed to the cold and unable to get up after the fall, hypothermia can be and an added problem.  Having a cell phone, life alert, or letting someone else know you are out can reduce the time until help arrives after a fall.

 Contemplating a Move?  Those moving into an Assisted Living Community may want to consider what services they feel are needed and whether that is available where they are moving.  Do they provide regular wellness checks?  How often are these done?  Call pendants?  How long is the response time generally?