As the weather begins to dip below freezing, one of the greatest – and most overlooked – threats to senior mobility increases. The accumulation of ice and snow during winter poses a real danger to seniors who may already suffer from mobility issues, and our bones also become more brittle as we age. This means that even what appears to be a minor slip or fall can cause serious harm.
Watch for Changing Conditions
In many parts of the country, especially in the Midwest, the weather can change rapidly. Be prepared for inclement weather at all times, and check weather conditions before you go outside each morning and again before you return home. Beware of the formation of ice on roadways and parking lots. The rapid melting and re-freezing of precipitation on these surfaces can happen quickly. Know that conditions could have changed even during the time it takes to walk in and out of the grocery store.
Keep a slow, deliberate pace when you make your way across potentially hazardous ground. Ensure that you wear boots or other slip-resistant shoes. Remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry, so take your time crossing the parking lot, the street, or the sidewalk. Stairs can be particularly hazardous, so use the handrails! Even if a sidewalk or stairwell has been salted or otherwise treated for ice, understand, again, that conditions can change rapidly, and be mindful of each step.
Keep Your Hands Free
If at all possible, avoid carrying items when you are making your way around in the freezing weather. Use a backpack or a cart to bring your items with you. This ensures that your hands are free in case you slip or slide and need to stabilize yourself. Also be sure to ask for help when you need it. If you have a friend, neighbor, or companion who can help you navigate troublesome areas this winter, reach out to them for assistance.
While the winter season is a wonderful time to be with family and friends and the weather can be lovely (especially when viewed from inside!), always be sure to enjoy it safely.