In light of the icy weather we have been having lately; we want to give you our top tips to prevent you or your loved ones having slips, trips and falls in this crisp weather. We hope this information keeps you safe in the coming weeks!
Firstly, let’s start this blog off with something everybody loves… STATISTICS! The following statistics refer to falls of elderly people in colder months. It has been proven that there is a direct link between cold weather and falls, the chances of falling in cold weather increases significantly after the age of 75.
Continuing our statistical journey: Each year 2.8 million elderly adults are treated for fall related injuries and of this, 800,00 sadly require hospitalisation. Studies also show that the staggering number of falls equates to 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 will have at least one fall a year and half of these will have more frequent falls.
There are a lot of factors that could cause somebody to fall: poor vision, poor lighting, unsecured rugs or carpet, uneven floors & pavements, poor balance, long term health condition, muscle weakness, etc.
Now for the important bit: Top 10 tips for preventing falls!
1. Wear the correct footwear for the weather
It’s so easy to pop ‘old faithfuls’ on, you know the ones, the Merrells you bought in 2012 for your walking holiday in Croatia. As fantastic and comfortable as they are, you might want to check if they will give you the proper support for walking in the cold.
If it is looking frosty outside, dig into the back of your cupboard and audit your shoe-shelf, try to find footwear that has soles that are hard-wearing and have decent grip, also look for something that supports your ankles so you’re less likely to suffer a sprain if you slip.
As important as it is to wear comfortable shoes everywhere you go, it is equally as important to wear the right shoes for the right weather, so before you pop out to the shops, peek out of the window to see what the weather is like before you brave the cold in your slippers.
2. Try to walk on treated ground
We all know how fun it is to revisit the childhood joy of walking through a fresh blanket of snow or the challenge of trying to walk on slippery ground safely; but as time passes you by, the risk isn’t quite worth it.
When you’re walking through snow or icy conditions, try to find clear pathways that have been shovelled or de-iced and are safe to walk on.
3. Leave your shoes by the door
It’s a cold day and you’ve just popped up the shop, you’re eager to get the kettle on and make your hot chocolate, it’s a great ritual for a cold day but remember to take the time to take your shoes off and leave them by the door.
If you’ve been walking on wet or icy ground, it could detrimental to your health if you have hard flooring at home as you could make the flooring wet which immediately becomes a slip hazard to you and anybody in your household, so the safest thing to do when you come through the door: pop your shoes off and maybe pop your slippers on!
4. Stay warm
A little known factor that can prevent falls is to stay warm. Being warm relaxes your muscles which actually improves your balance!
Things you can do to keep warm: invest in a blanket or comfy throw, wrap up in your favourite jumper, stick the kettle on and use this as an excuse to enjoy your favourite hot beverage, sit by the fireplace, eat a hot meal, don’t neglect your central heating, the list goes on!
5. Take advantage of any walking aids
If you have any walking aids around the house and you’re feeling particularly unsteady, it may well be worth taking as much advantage as them as possible.
Different walking aids include: walking sticks (maybe you have one from a previous surgery), decorative canes (for those of you who enjoy lavish living), Zimmer frames, rolators, etc.
6. Stay indoors
It’s the dream for some but a nightmare for others. If you are particularly comfortable in your own environment, you may just enjoy staying in by the fire with a good book.
For some of the more adventurous types, this one could be a little more difficult but unless you absolutely have to be somewhere, perhaps staying in while it’s slippery out could be the safest suggestion we have for you today!
The list of falls prevention tips isn’t exhaustive, these are just our suggestions for the cold weather. Are there any that you feel should be on our list? Let us know!