Seniors: 5 Ways to Avoid Slips and Falls During the Winter

You’re bundled up and ready to go to the store, a friend’s house, or maybe a doctor’s appointment.

And then you take a look outside.

If you live in Hawaii or southern states in the U.S., you can probably count on sunny skies or maybe a little rain when Old Man Winter is in charge.

But if you live in more northern parts of the U.S., your view from the window might be a frozen, snow-covered winter wonderland.

And that’s a problem for a lot of seniors. More than one-third of adults age 65 and older slip and fall every  year.

For some, it’s nothing more than a bump or bruise. But for others, trying to cross an icy parking lot or just get from your house to the car can be a recipe for broken bones, a trip to the hospital, maybe even surgery or physical therapy.

So what can you do to avoid a fall, especially during the winter months? Here’s what Dr. Amy Ehrlich, professor of clinical medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, recommends:

1. Wear boots with non-skid soles. Those flats, heels or dress shoes might look nice. They might even be comfortable. But most have smooth bottom soles that won’t give you any traction on a slick driveway, sidewalk, or parking lot. Wear boots with non-skid soles, and you’ll be less likely to take a spill.

2. Keep walkways clear
If you live in an area prone to snow and ice during the winter months, keep your walkways clear. If you’re in good shape, shoveling snow is good exercise. But you might want to ask a neighbor for help, or hire a contractor to keep your driveway clear. Sand and salt can also help.

3. Canes or walkers prevent falls
There’s nothing wrong with using a cane or walker. Maybe you don’t need to use it all the time. But if you’ve got to make your way across a slippery surface, a cane or walker will help improve your balance and prevent a fall. Use it.

4. Exercise to improve balance and strength
It’s no secret that as you age, you lose lean muscle mass, strength, and bone density. And sometimes balance starts to waver too. But for most aging adults, it doesn’t have to be that way. Regular exercise can help strengthen your muscles and improve balance to prevent falls. And if you do fall, you’ll be less likely to break a bone because resistance exercise makes your bones stronger, too.

5. Get a check up
If you feel unsteady for any reason, and you’re worried about taking a fall on an icy road, get a check-up. You should have an annual wellness visit anyway. It’s a good chance to have your vision and feet examined to identify any potential problems that could impact your balance.

But if you’d rather stay home on a cold winter’s day where it’s warm and dry, you’ll probably want something good to eat. Forget about ordering a pizza, and go with a home-cooked meal. But let us do all the work. You’ll find a great selection of meals all made from fresh ingredients on our Senior-Friendly Menu.