November 27, 2020
Winter storms can dump inches or even feet of snow on the ground.
Often, they leave sidewalks, roads, driveways, and parking lots a slippery mess. They can be difficult for young adults to walk on without slipping, but older adults with balance or mobility problems might have an even tougher time staying upright. While caregivers might wish they could just keep their older family members safely inside until the weather warms up, that’s not practical or even healthy since it cuts them off from social interactions. There’s no way to guarantee a senior won’t fall in slippery conditions, but there are steps you can take to keep them safer in the winter, such as those listed below.
Keep Sidewalks Clear
Have someone shovel the sidewalks as soon as possible after a snowfall. There may be a neighbor who is willing to help the older adult with shoveling. Or, perhaps a family member can do it. Make sure there is plenty of salt and sand available to melt ice and provide traction. If there isn’t anyone available to do the shoveling, consider hiring a service.
Remind the Senior to Stay Alert
Encourage your older family member to be watchful for patches of ice or other problems that could cause a fall. If there are handrails available, remind them to use them since they will reduce the risk of a fall. Also, seniors should stay on walkways whenever possible instead of cutting across areas that have not been cleared.
Hurrying while walking can result in a fall. Leave early for appointments to give the older adult extra time to get into the building without rushing through the parking lot. Taking small, shuffling steps can provide better traction. Also, they should keep their hands free and out of their pockets since arms can help with balance.
Clean Up Melted Snow Inside
It’s hard not to track snow inside, which can leave puddles of water that make floors slippery. Place a rug near the door where people can take their snowy shoes off and leave them. Watch for puddles and promptly dry them up.
Use Senior Care
Senior care providers can help to prevent falls during the winter, too. Senior care providers can make certain your aging relative wears shoes or boots with good traction when going outside. A senior care provider can also offer the older adult an arm to lean on while they walk and help them to avoid icy spots.