From the time that we are scurrying Toddlers to the time that we are scuffling Seniors falls are a painful risk. In Northwest Indiana the wet, slippery, and icy weather only adds to the odds that we will inevitably fall whether inside or outside baring the cold.
Each year, after the first snow arrives, people begin to move a little bit slower with the fear of falling in the back of their minds. After the snow and ice continue to build up it seems as though the risks behind those hazards become absent minded.
As we get comfortable with the weather Mother Nature has dealt us, over 2.5 nonfatal flaws among older adults are treated in Emergency Departments of which more than 734,000 are hospitalized. Unfortunately, as we age our bodies change and our fall risk becomes even greater.
Whether you are someone 65+, a healthcare professional, or a caretaker the following tips and tricks to prevent slips will be useful as we prepare for the next few months of poor weather conditions.
To Avoid Slips:
- Wear appropriate footwear with rough, waffled, ridged or heavily textured soles
- Use handrails wherever they are provided – a secure handhold can prevent a fall if you should slip
- Check to be sure if entrance halls and stairs are clear of snow and slush
- Clean your shoes when you go inside – caked snow and ice on shoe soles can be treacherous
- Test potentially icy spots by tapping the area with your foot
- Be prepared to fall
Let’s face it, falling is scary even if you weren’t injured in the process. According the the CDC many people who fall develop a fear of falling. “This fear may cause them to limit their activities, which leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, and in turn increases their actual risk of falling.”
One way to rid your patient, parent, or self of this fear is to learn how to fall properly. If you slip:
- Try to roll with the fall if you begin to fall forward
- Sit down if you begin to fall forward – when a falling person relaxes, an injury is less severe then when he/she tenses. Fighting a fall on ice can cause twisting or
- bending injuries which may be worse than the bump the fall would have produced.