Now that spring is (finally!) here, we’re all feeling a little more active, and perhaps also a bit more carefree.
But one of winter’s cares that should follow us into spring is the risk of senior slips. Just because we no longer have to worry about ice for awhile, doesn’t mean that the danger of outdoor falls for seniors has decreased. Even if we’ve gone to great lengths to fall-proof our senior’s environment, we can’t always account for outside the home.
While the risk factors for indoor vs. outdoor falls are different according to a 2010 study, one of the traits all senior falls share is that the fear of falling often increases the threat of falling. Research has indicated this is linked, in part, to self-imposed inactivity that can speed the decline of balance, reactions and overall physical health.
Since one of our main goals at Home Instead Senior Care of Central Oregon is to help seniors remain as active as possible, here are some outdoor tips we encourage to help your senior enjoy a fulfilling and fall-free spring.
Take it from the bottom: Wearing shoes with rubber soles allows more stability and traction for seniors. For women who wear heels, try to encourage something low, with a wide base.
Lay of the land: As you walk with a senior, take a long survey of what’s in front of you, and remind them to do the same when they are alone. Where are the curb cuts? Stairs? Does the surface change at any point? Are you going to encounter any polished stone or areas that are slippery when wet? Knowing where you need to take extra care will help you either prepare appropriately or find another route if possible.
Hold on: Use handrails whenever they are available. If you are worried about germs, carry hand sanitizer.
Empty-handed: Encourage your senior to stash their wallet, glasses, cell phone, etc. in a bag or a pouch – something they don’t have to hold with their hands. This will leave their hands free to hold a cane, walker or handrails or grab for support when needed. It also helps prevent dropping, which can lead to unnecessary bending or stooping that might cause loss of balance.
For more ideas on keeping seniors safe while helping them remain active, please call Home Instead Senior Care of Central Oregon at 541-330-6400 or Like us on Facebook.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
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