When the winter weather comes, safe paths can become treacherous. Slick surfaces pose new hazards and everyone has to get a little more careful. Each year, it’s estimated that about one in every four adults over 65 years will fall, with nearly 2.8 million seniors needing treatment in emergency departments. Don’t let the winter be at fault for a fall, instead take the following tips to winterize and prevent falls from happening.
Get Your Gear In Order
The first order of business is making sure proper footwear is on hand. Shoes with firm soles and good traction are optimal when the snow starts falling. Spikeless ice and snow gripping sole covers are available for shoes to give individuals extra stability. Additionally, there are cane tips with spikes on the bottom that can be attached and will allow icy surfaces to be penetrated for better support. If your loved one owns a wheelchair they often use outdoors, it is also recommended to invest in snow tires.
Build Muscles, Improve Balance
Adding a regular exercise regimen that focuses on strengthening leg, hip, abdominal and butt muscles can be largely beneficial to a person’s balance. Simply walking more, trying new balancing exercises (like standing on your toes or holding a position in which one leg is off the ground), participating in yoga or even dancing can help reduce the risk of a fall. And don’t forget about eating balanced meals with the proper protein and vitamins that help build muscle. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, SPYRL is a great option to practice GYROTONIC® exercise. It’s a great option to improve muscle strength while incorporating principles of yoga, dance, gymnastics, swimming and tia-chi.
Invest in Home Improvements
With many falls taking place around the home, it’s vital that this place of comfort is conducive to good health by ease of access and enhanced safety. From installing higher toilets and grab bars in the bathroom, to fixing broken handrails and removing slippery throw rugs, clutter and small items that can be tripped over, each home investment is more than worth it. Other helpful enhancements include installing motion-censored lights for entryways, hallways and bathrooms, covering the home’s entry and also having a table at the entry that will allow for ladies to set their bag down and look for keys.
Care for Your Eyes
Vision loss is correctable in most cases, so why not get an annual eye exam? Making sure your eyesight is at its best will help prevent much more than just a fall. Just go to an ophthalmologist or optometrist for a complete eye exam. They will not only see how well your eyesight is, but help you get better vision.
Take it Slow and Steady
Rushing around causes instability, which is definitely not something any of us want. This winter, plan ahead and take your time. If there’s an incline on your path, don’t go straight up the middle, instead go from side to side (making a zigzag path) to get up it. And if you choose to go out in the winter slush, shuffle your feet and take baby steps. Some would even say, waddle like a penguin, because with smaller steps, falls can be avoided more easily. Avoid carrying a lot of items and wear quality gloves, because the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests keeping hands free (and out of pockets) for better balance and to increase your center of gravity.
For additional help around the home, don’t hesitate to call us at Freedom Home Care, a Highland Park home care agency committed to providing exceptional care to our clients to enhance their quality of life. With a variety of in-home care services, we are the home care agency for any stage of your life—from newborn to elder care. If you are looking for a “Home Care Agency Near Me,” just give us a call at 877-262-1223.