An older adult can fall at any time of the year. However, the snowy weather of winter can make it even more likely they will fall and suffer an injury. Icy sidewalks and snow tracked into the house can cause your aging relative to slip. The snowy weather requires taking some extra steps to avoid falls that could result in fractures, head injuries, or worse. Here are some ways to help your older family member to avoid falling in the winter.
Choose the Right Footwear
Shoes with good traction will help to prevent a fall. In addition to having good traction, the footwear should be warm enough for the weather. Feet that feel numb from the cold could lead to a fall. In addition, make sure the shoes fit well so they don’t cause pain from pinched toes or slip off of heels.
People who are cold tense their muscles. Stiff, tense muscles change the way your aging relative walks and can throw off their balance. Dressing in warm layers helps to keep muscles relaxed and your aging relative’s gait normal.
Take the Safest Route
Encourage your aging relative to stick to paths that are shoveled and free of ice as often as possible. Seniors should look for the safest way to get into a building. The shortest path may not always be the best. When the usual entrance is icy, try to use a different one that has less ice, even if it means walk a little further.
Seniors need to be especially alert when walking during the winter months. They should be aware of icy patches on the sidewalk and try to walk around them whenever possible. Ice can sometimes be difficult to spot. When in doubt, older adults should avoid any spots that look shiny.
Experts recommend walking slowly when the ground is icy. They should keep their feet flat and shuffle in short steps, somewhat like a penguin.
Keep the Driveway and Sidewalks Clear
It’s important to make certain your aging relative’s driveway and walk are cleared as soon after a snowfall as possible. If a family caregiver or neighbor isn’t available to help, consider hiring a snow clearing service. The snow on sidewalks can become packed down and turn icy. Your older family member could slip and fall on their way to pick up the newspaper or mail.
Use Home Care
Home care can be very beneficial during the winter months in keeping seniors safe from a fall. A home care provider can take the senior’s arm when they are walking outside and help them to avoid slippery spots. Home care providers can also make sure snow tracked into the house on shoes can be cleaned up immediately to prevent a water puddle where the older adult could slip.
If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Broadview, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Billings today at 406-839-2390.