December has brought along a chill in the air, and it is likely that wintry precipitation will soon follow. Winter weather increases the chance of injury from a fall on the ice or snow. For a younger individual, a fall can be painful and inconvenient; for an aging person, it can be devastating and limit their ability to remain independent. We want you and your loved ones to experience a safe winter season, where only those playing on sleds experience slipping and sliding.
Keep these safety tips in mind.
- When bundling up for the cold weather, be mindful of winter accessories that could interfere with vision. Make certain that everyone can fully see where they are stepping; ensure hats, hoods or scarves do not block lines of sight. Also, be aware that rapid changes in temperature and humidity can cause glasses to fog up.
- Wear proper footwear, ensure that there is traction on the bottom and that there is a secure fit.
- Go slowly. Take small steps and get proper footing with each step.
- Keep walkways clear. Park as close to the building as possible, make sure walkways are clear, dry and/or properly treated.
- Provide support. Don’t leave an aging person to go it alone. Walk with him or her to provide support. Likewise, check railings to ensure they are sturdy and free of precipitation.
- Stay inside if necessary. Sometimes, such as after ice has accumulated, it is better to cancel appointments or outings than to take the risk of falling.
- Stay physically fit. Maintaining balance and muscle tone throughout the year goes a long way in preventing falls.
- Have a plan. In the event of a fall, make sure your loved one knows who to call for assistance. Check in before and during inclement weather to discourage unnecessary risks. Put adequate help in place, whether that means hiring a neighbor to shovel snow so your loved one won’t attempt the task or welcoming a caregiver into the home.
If your aging loved one is in need of professional, friendly assistance, don’t hesitate to contact AccuCare Home Health of St. Louis for a free consultation. We will create a customized plan to meet your loved one’s needs, while maintaining as much independence as possible.