Chances are you have some sort of relationship with a Senior Citizen who has experienced a fall. Not only are these situations terrifying for our loved ones, but also for those supporting them. Experiencing this as a caregiver usually leads to many questions, one of which will most likely be “How can I prevent this from happening again?” which can be easily addressed.
Seeing as Alaska has inclement weather the vast majority of the year, we can conclude that some of these falls will be associated with icy or slippery conditions on walkways, sidewalks, and driveways throughout the state. These falls have to potential to cause life altering injuries for loved ones, most notable injuries include:
o Bone Injuries (such as fractures to the hip, spine, legs, and arms)
o Head Injuries
o New Fears of Falling
This article’s intent is to help you take the preemptive measures to nip these occurrences in the bud before they happen or to prevent further falls during the winter months, which are rapidly approaching!
Below is a list of actions and precautions everyone, not just Seniors, can take to avoid falls on ice:
o First and foremost, exercise! Activities that help build balance can make the greatest difference!
o Keeping areas with foot traffic free from snow and ice.
o Use plenty of sand and gravel for added traction.
o Ice cleats for footwear. This simple purchase could be your greatest winter mobility ally.
o Lights! Ensuring walkways possess adequate lighting can, literally, make a night and day difference!
o If stairs are an obstacle between you and your destination, make sure to use the hand rail.
o SLOW DOWN! We all can become rushed at times, but one thing that is sure to prevent you from arriving at your destination safe and on time is a fall.
o Avoid carrying unnecessary items while in motion and keep your hands out of your pockets. Our arms provide excellent balance while in motion.
o Many falls may occur when we try to enter and exit a vehicle, so be sure to use sturdy handholds!
o Lastly, ALWAYS ask for assistance when necessary.
Here at CareNet, we want everyone to maintain their independence, and in Alaska a big portion of that is navigating the community which can be difficult in the winter months. Following these precautions can enable us all to have a safe and enjoyable winter.
Authored by Preston Groogan, BA