Fall Prevention in the Winter

Senior couple walking in winter

It seems that no matter how careful we are, we find ourselves sliding around and falling in the winter. Even if there is no way to completely avoid falling on slippery surfaces, we can certainly take steps to help prevent them.

If you are a caregiver for a senior, it is doubly important that you make sure everything is done to help them stay upright on the icy surfaces. Being vigilant can save you and your loved ones severe injury.

Steps to Take to Prevent Falls During Winter

Proper Footwear

Non-slip boots and shoes are a great place to start. Soles with traction made for ice and snow can make a big difference on ice, in particular, the ice you can’t see.

Even people who don’t have mobility restrictions can go down on the ice and get badly hurt. Well-fitting boots and shoes with sturdy reliable traction on the soles will go a long way to prevent falling.

Clear Pathways

Making sure that all the sidewalks where they live are cleared, sanded, or slated will help prevent falling at home. If your loved one is on their own, make a point of getting over there or hiring someone to clear the walkways around their home.

Even small patches of ice underneath new snow can be treacherous for a senior. Just going to check the mailbox can result in an injury or broken bone. Make sure even a light dusting of new snow is removed.

Keep Your Hands Free

If you are taking a bag with you for shopping, try to use one you can put over your shoulder or a backpack. Keeping your hands free helps you stay balanced, but it also gives you a fighting chance to brace yourself should you slip.

A wheeled buggy for shopping is a great idea. It allows you something to hang onto plus you don’t have to worry about carrying heavy groceries. The buggy acts like a walker so you can get home safely.

Take Your Time

You may feel the need to hurry due to colder weather or the chance of a storm. It’s important that you take your time and be careful and deliberate in the way you walk.

Be vigilant about watching where you are walking and always know what is ahead of you. Walking slowly but steadily will make sure you are in control every step of the way.

Don’t Take Shortcuts

Follow the same path or route every time. You don’t know what kind of trouble there may be. It can be tempting to cut through an alley or a different way thinking it will get you home quicker, but you should avoid it.

Take the route you are comfortable with and that is populated with shops, people, and traffic. If you did fall, at least you will have people around who can assist you, rather than on a strange street.

Dress Appropriately

Even just going out to the mailbox or to grab a newspaper can be full of unwanted surprises. If you have on full pants, a warm coat, proper footwear, mitts, and a hat, you are prepared for anything.

The last thing you want is to fall on your own sidewalk or driveway in just a robe. If you do slip and fall, you are protected against the hard surfaces that can cause even more injury.

Don’t Go Alone

If at all possible, go where you need to with someone else. A walking companion gives you an arm to hold on to and it can help prevent you both from falling.

It also means you have someone with you who can help you up if you do fall or call someone if there is a problem. Make sure you or the other person has a phone with them, just in case. You may also want to consider a medical alert system. This allows you 24/7 access to help should you need it.

Incorporating these additional measures into your winter safety routine ensures a comprehensive approach to minimizing the risk of falls. By combining outdoor precautions with indoor adjustments, individuals, especially seniors, can navigate winter with increased confidence and safety.