shutterstock_1723848115_2jo0GfW..jpeg (shutterstock_1723848115.webp)The winter season can bring about many worries and considerations for seniors and their caregivers. From navigating winter illnesses to organizing holiday festivities, some safety concerns might be overlooked. One of which, a particularly important one, is winter slip and fall accidents.

At Gallagher Home Care Services, we understand all too well the potential risks of unaddressed fall hazards. Throughout their years of service, our team of qualified and compassionate caregivers have discovered and implemented several techniques to aid in preventing slip and fall incidents among our older adults.

In this article, we'll share some of those techniques with you in the form of easily comprehensible tips. We hope that with the help of these tips, you and your loved ones can have a cozy, safe winter season, free from any potential slips and falls.

How Common Are Winter Slip and Fall Accidents?

Before we get into our prevention tips, it's important to make note of just how serious this issue can be for older adults. Slip and fall injuries are some of the most overlooked, especially considering how hectic the holiday season can already be for most caregivers and families. To shed light on the importance of this issue, here are some statistics courtesy of the Center for Disease Control.

  • One in four older adults in the US suffer from a significant slip or fall throughout the year.
  • Falls among older adults account for 32,000 yearly deaths.
  • More than 95% of hip fractures are from a slip and fall accident.
  • Roughly 3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments each year for fall-related injuries.

Slip And Fall Safety Tips

  1. #1: Wear Proper Winter Gear

    Our first safety tip for preventing slips and falls is to ensure that you've bundled up in proper winter gear. In particular, take note of the kind of shoes you have. Opt for ones that will provide you with ample traction, such as snow boots or shoes with rubber soles. Avoid high heels and opt for flat, sturdy shoes instead.

    Also, be sure to dress in layers and wear a warm coat, gloves, and hat to keep yourself from getting too cold. This will help prevent any sudden dizziness or discomfort resulting in an accident. Not to mention, in the event that a fall accident should occur, the use of sturdy and well-made gloves can help you catch yourself without risking further injury.

  2. #2: Take Your Time When Walking

    In the hustle and bustle of a busy season, it can be easy to forget to pace ourselves. However, when it comes to preventing falls, taking your time while walking is key. Rushing or hurrying can lead to tripping or slipping on icy patches. Instead, make sure to take slow and steady strides while keeping an eye out for any potentially hazardous areas. Slow and steady wins the race, after all!

  3. #3: Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

    Falls can happen anywhere and at any time, but they are especially prevalent during the haziness and dense precipitation of the winter season. To make sure you stay safe, it's important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. This means taking note of potentially slippery areas like icy sidewalks or wet surfaces and avoiding them if possible. If you do encounter a hazardous area, try to find an alternate path or use support like a handrail to navigate through it with caution.

  4. #4: Take Caution Outdoors And Indoors

    While it's important to be cautious when walking outdoors, it's just as crucial to take precautions inside your home. Make sure to keep walkways clear and free of clutter or obstacles that could cause a fall. Also, consider installing handrails on staircases and using non-slip mats in the bathroom and kitchen areas. These simple additions can make a huge difference in fall prevention, both indoors and outdoors.

  5. #5: Know How To Fall Properly

    No matter how much prevention is put into place, the earlier statistics serve as a reminder that fall injuries always have the potential to occur. Something as insignificant as one misstep can be enough to counteract any prevention tactics you've set into place. So, when and if a slip and fall accident does occur, it's important to know how to fall in a way that minimizes damage.

    Before you hit the ground, despite how much you'll want to tense up, it's important to fully relax the muscles in your body. This is the best way to avoid any one body part taking the full brunt of the blow. When you fall, avoid falling onto vulnerable areas such as your knees or back. Instead, maneuver your body so you fall on your side. This is the best way to fall without risking severe injury.

Gallagher Home Care Has You Covered

Slips and falls aside, there are several other worrisome factors that make the winter season difficult for seniors and their loved ones to navigate. An extra set of hands and eyes can make all the difference during this hectic time, so it might be beneficial to learn about the benefits of home care services.

At Gallagher, our home care services are completely customizable based on the needs of you and your aging loved one. Whether it's just someone to keep your senior relative company, or you're seeking an at-home health aid, our team is certain to perform beyond your wildest expectations.

Interested in utilizing some of our senior home care services this holiday season? Contact us today to get started. Schedule your free care consultation today, or call us at (412) 279-2257 to learn more!