An estimated 1.6 million seniors go to the ER every year because of fall related injuries, making falling the leading cause of injury at home. Many of these falls result in serious injury. Almost a third lead to permanent disability and even death. As winter approaches and surfaces freeze over, the risk of falling increases. Here is what you can do to help prevent falling.
1) Stay physical
As the weather cools and the day grows shorter, its easy to stay inside and watch TV. The more we sit, the more our muscles atrophy and balance becomes more difficult. Maintaining an active routine throughout the winter means your body will be prepared to stay upright. But, if you happen to find yourself feeling particularly lethargic, don’t push it.
2) Monitor Medications
Medications can interfere with our sense of balance. Depending on dosage or interactions, they might make you dizzy or lightheaded. Make sure you check with your doctor if you are experiencing a sense of imbalance and you aren’t sure what is causing it.
3) Wear the Appropriate Footwear
If there is snow outside, make sure you wear boots or shoes that can grip potentially slippery surfaces. And, just to be safe, put on a jacket and other warm clothing. Even though you might just need to go outside for a few moments, prepare for the worst. You’ll be more comfortable that way.
4) Clean and Light the Way
This might seem like common sense, but often times we just forget that we placed something, somewhere haphazardly. As we go through a routine, we might fail to notice an obstruction and before even realizing it, we are thrown off balance.
Check your path before using it. If you can’t see clearly, illuminate the way. Be especially wary of planters and other objects on your steps, make sure they aren’t preventing you from using assistance.
5) Seek and Use Assistance
Hand railings, shoe chains and ice salt will help you maintain balance and traction as you come and go from your place. If these aren’t available, call a neighbor, friend or family member for help. Many of us are too proud to ask for help, but the consequences of walking without sure footing can be steep.
If you would like to guarantee assistance, we can help you move about all winter. Whether you need an arm to hold onto or a ride to your nearest senior center, we are here for you.