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Are You at Risk of Falls this Winter?

By Bill Murray
September 24, 2020

Are You at Risk of Falls this Winter?

6 fall prevention tips to stay safe after a visit from Jack Frost.

It only seems a moment ago that we were complaining about the heat of the Summer and yet already the clocks have turned back, the nights are longer, and Winter is on it’s way bringing with it an increased risk of falls if you are over 65.

Around one in three adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year, and about half of these will have more frequent falls. Falls are one of the main causes of older people attending accident and emergency departments and can sometimes lead to lengthy hospital stays.

Ice and snow can present problems for anybody no matter what your age but as we get older the sensations in your feet can decline affecting your balance and our muscles can weaken,leaving you with an uneven gait. Add in a mixture of popular medications following a stroke or diagnosis of diabetes which can make you dizzy, and it’s no wonder that winter can be a fearful time.

So what steps can you take to stay on your feet this winter?

1. Check your indoor and outdoor lighting.

Check that all your bulbs inside and out are working and swap them for a higher wattage bulb during winter, especially around the pathway and entrance to your house so you can see where you are walking.

2. Wear the right kind of shoes

Make sure your shoes fit well and the tread hasn’t worn down. Cleaning your shoes from ice and snow as soon as you enter the house will stop the ice freezing on the soles of your shoes which could cause you to slip indoors.

3. Make sure your clothes are free from snags and fit snugly

Clothes that are too long or too big are in danger of getting caught on nearby objects so make sure your winter clothes not only keep you warm but also fit well.

4. Plan your route in advance.

Always choose the easiest route with the best walkways and make you sure you allow yourself enough time for your journey so you don’t have to rush.

5. Make sure your path and inside hallways are clear

Install handrails on any steps which will support you if you fall and keep your pathway clear of ice and snow by keeping salt and grit handy by your door. Inside the house check all the hallways for loose carpet and cables which may cause you to trip.

6. Exercise

Keep your muscles working by completing daily exercises to make you agile and more stable when walking and walk with your feet completely flat to reduce the risks of falling.

Finally, you can’t change the weather but you can change how you deal with an icy day. Although following these tips will reduce the risk of you falling, if your plans aren’t urgent then the safest thing to do is always to plan your day around the weather and wait for a better day to venture out by yourself.