Preventing Falls in Winter

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251922.jpgBy this point in time, aging parents and other seniors have surely been told about the importance of avoiding falls, which can potentially have severe effects. This is especially true, of course, for aging parents with osteoporosis. For many, winter weather brings with it increased risk of falling. So what are they to do?

Simply staying inside and hibernating for months on end isn’t the answer. While it's important to use good judgement about when it is best to go outdoors during snowy or icy conditions, these tips can also be helpful in avoiding falls.

Pay attention to weather reports. Sometimes the weather can change quickly. If snow is expected but has not begun when a person starts out on a jaunt, they should still be prepared for the possibility of snow.

Dress properly. Staying warm and dry is important for one’s overall health in the winter, but it also helps minimize the risk of falling. When a person is uncomfortable due to the weather, they tend to hurry and may not always take the care they need when walking. It’s also important to wear footwear that is best for snowy or icy conditions.  Snow boots or footwear with treads are better than smooth-soled dress shoes or high heels.

Stock up on salt. Whether one uses rock salt, ice melt, cat litter, or some other form of protection against icy conditions, it’s essential to have enough of it. Also, make sure the supplies are kept nearby and handy when winter starts so that they are easy to find when needed. When possible, put salt or litter in a small bag and bring it along on trips to the store or elsewhere to scatter it when necessary.

Use handrails. When handrails are available, use them for extra balance and protection. And be sure to wear gloves, as the rails can be cold and/or icy during bad weather.

Take time. Rushing often encourages falling. Allow extra time to get places, and walk with a smaller stride than during summertime.
Aging parents who do fall should report this to their relatives and/or doctors. Sometimes a fall may cause some damage that may not be immediately evident.

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