The snowy winter months bring with them additional hazards that can cause injuries to you or your loved ones. Specifically, winter falls are all-too-common, especially amongst the elderly. Daunting statistics include:
- “Wisconsin and Minnesota led the nation in deaths from falls among residents 65 and older” (New York Times).
- “Nearly three times as many people die after falling (some 32,000 a year) than are killed by guns in the United States” (New York Times).
While accidents happen, there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood that you and your loved ones suffer an injury from falling this winter. Here are our top three tips:
1. Take “Steps” Toward Safety.
Make proper footwear a top priority in the winter months. Swap that cute pair of heels for flat shoes with rubber or neoprene soles, which are better at preventing slips. And, when you’re out and about, be conscious of moving a bit slower. Take careful steps and, especially if you notice ice, keep both of your feet on the ground at all times, taking “shuffle” steps (rather than the typical jog you do when running those quick errands).
2. Think it Through.
We know, you love tackling that to-do list with speed. From external factors like snow and ice, to hazards inside your home like sharp edges and hard surfaces, taking time to work through tasks properly will greatly reduce your likelihood of falling. Whether you’re bringing in the groceries or swapping out that light bulb, slow down and think through the task at hand. If you’re carrying large or bulky items, make more trips or ask for assistance. If there is something beyond reach, opt for a ladder or step stool rather than attempting a balancing act off of that dining room chair.
3. Get Expert Advice.
“[One additional step] to take that can reduce the risk of falling is to maintain physical strength and balance as you age. If you’re uncertain of your stability or agility, consider some sessions with a physical therapist and practice the recommended exercises regularly” (New York Times). Physical therapists can help you regain strength, enhance stability, and correct issues that may be increasing your chances of losing balance and falling.
Considering physical therapy for yourself or a loved one? Call today to learn more about how Wenger Physical Therapy can help you combat those weather-related injuries.