Stay at Home Solutions blogs on topics such as aging in place, universal design, adaptive equipment, home modifications, accessibility, durable medical equipment, legislation, and caregiving.
KC, Are You Slipping and Sliding? Seven Tips to Prevent Winter Falls!
One of my favorite topics of all time is how to prevent falls when there’s ice and snow out the door! If you live in the Kansas City metro, I reckon you’ve noticed some of the white stuff sitting outside your door.
It’s incredibly important to me to repeat repeat repeat how to prevent falls in the winter. That’s because more falls happen in the winter resulting in injuries and even death! Think about it: are you walking a little faster to get out of the cold? If you are walking faster, it’s easier to miss potentially dangerous ice on the ground!
The word is there’s going to be even more ice and snow soon. So with that being said, let’s talk about how to prevent falling while getting to and fro during this time of year!
1) Before you leave home, what’s on your feet? Athletic shoes, crocs, or slip on shoes should not be the answer! (Unless you WANT to fall on your butt!)
You need sturdy footwear that will combat against slippery ice! I recommend shoes with a rubber sole to create friction when contacting ice.
Wear shoes with rubber soles, but please make sure to tie the laces!
Photo by Unsplash
I also LOVE traction cleats because you can put them on shoes you already have at home. The traction cleats keep your body upright no matter what you’re walking on. I ain’t scared of no hilly driveways or sidewalks!
2) Put ice melt or kitty litter in sandwich bags when you’re on the go! If you drive or walk to a place that has a patch of ice, take out your bag and throw the ice melt/kitty litter in front of you. It’s a convenient way to make sure you don’t fall at the drug store or doctor’s office when you’re running errands!
Besides, you’ll be a hero to others who walk on the same pathway. Look at you!
3) Carry a small flashlight or use the light on your cell phone to lighten dark places.
You probably won’t be traversing through the wilderness. Although, it’s still nice to have a flashlight!
Photo by Unsplash
Who likes black ice? No one does. We hate driving and walking on it because it’s completely invisible to us. Increase your chances of seeing black ice while walking outside by flashing a light in front of you. You may see some reflection or wetness on the ground that will let you know you need to be careful!!!!
I like flashlights that are small enough to stow in my purse, backpack, coat pocket, or attach to my keys. How could you ever forget a flashlight that’s attached to your key ring?
If you’re more tech savvy, using the torch function on your smart phone is a really easy way to light up the darkness. How could anyone ever forget their smart phones nowadays?
4) Speaking of light, make sure your outdoor lights are on at home when it’s dark. I love automatic motion sensor lights that simultaneously conserve energy and ensure your safety. You shouldn’t work extra hard to see where you’re walking when you leave or come home!
Don’t have outdoor lights? Contact me so I can help you locate the best places to add outdoor lighting! (Remember, I’m a Missouri Medicare provider!)
5) Rethink how you get in and out of the car.
When you get out of the car, place both feet flat on the ground outside the car before standing. This helps your balance! Getting in the car? Sit down on the seat first before turning your body to put both feet inside on the floor board.
Balancing on one leg while getting in and out of the car spells trouble for falls! I can’t tell you how many people I know (including myself) fall getting in and out of the car on one leg! What is this? Cirque du Soleil? I don’t think so!
6) Do you use a cane or walker? No problem! There are cane tips for ice that you can place on your cane/walker to grip the ice and snow better when you walk outside. The cane tips look like little spikes! Your cane/walker is now a legitimate weapon and tool to keep you on your feet!
People tell me they feel very secure when they don’t feel their cane slipping all over the place. And a few individuals shared how powerful they felt with their spiky canes!
7) Add a cover over your main entry door to protect you from the elements.
Who can identify struggling to place your key to unlock your door while it’s snowing, sleeting, or raining? What a miserable time! You feel frozen and frustrated while trying to simply get inside of your home!
A simple solution is placing a cover over the doorway to provide dryness while unlocking the door. I am a huge fan of porticos, which are usually an extension of the roof over the entry. You could also look into an awning, but I would be careful to see if it can withstand the harsh conditions of winter!
I hope these seven fall prevention tips will help you stay safe and intact! I’ve worked with people who’ve suffered horrific injuries from falls in the winter. Sometimes the injury is so life changing, that people cannot return to living at home like they used to! Since my goal is to help you stay at home, I need you to try at least one of these tips today to keep from falling.
After you try one the tips, contact me and let me know what you think! Did it work? Did you change something about the tip? What other ways do you prevent falls in the winter?
Remember, the best way to avoid falls and injuries is to follow these tips! Share this information with your friends and family. Be proactive! You better do it before you need it!