Falls are the No. 1 cause of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadian seniors. They are also the cause of 95 percent of all hip fractures in older adults. As we enter the winter months with its slippery ice and snow, here are six ways to help protect your loved one from falls.
- Talk to your loved one’s doctor about exercises for maintaining strength and balance. Your loved one may want to hibernate this season but help them incorporate these types of exercises into your loved one’s daily routine.
- Plan trips around the weather. If the forecast calls for snow, do not go out with your loved one unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Allow sufficient travel time. In snowy weather, make sure you and your loved one budget more than enough time to get where you need to go. People are less cautious when they rush, which can lead to a fall.
- Make sure your loved one’s mobility aids are ready for winter. The Canadian Safety Council recommends ice grippers for walking on hard-packed snow or ice. Many cane manufacturers offer an ice tip like a ski pole.
- Always wear shoes, slippers and winter boots with non-skid soles. Check the bottom of beloved boots for worn treads as this can be a hazard.
- Scrape shoes before coming inside. Wet snow and ice can stick inside the treads of winter boots.
While winter has obvious fall hazards, snow and ice, it’s a myth that most falls happen outside. The most dangerous areas include the bathroom and stairs due to the increased risk of slipping, tripping and stumbling, such as tripping the bathroom rug or stair runner.