With January now over, winter seems to be in full swing with snowstorms, freezing temperatures and icy streets. Even if you live in an area with a milder winter season, you’re likely experiencing icier conditions. As beautiful as the snow looks from outside our windows, it can prove dangerous for less mobile adults.

Let’s review some tips and procedures to put into practice so you can enjoy this season as safely as possible.

Tips for Safe Walking

Even active adults can suffer from a nasty slip and fall. Icy walkways, slick steps and snow-packed driveways make it difficult to get from Point A to Point B safety. However, you can still enjoy your time outdoors during this time of year by following the advice below.

  • Always wear the proper foot wear. Look for shoes with traction such as non-skid boots and athletic shoes.
  • Carefully grip railing while walking up and down steps. Slow and steady does it.
  • Use gloves to protect your hands from the cold and keep them free from your pockets. Keeping your hands in your pockets can alter your balance.
  • Use slow, short steps to make your way.
  • Avoid taking big leaps from one area to another.
  • Fit the ends of canes with slip-proof attachments. Never use canes with worn tips.
  • Have your steps, walkway and driveway shoveled on a regular basis. Avoid wet, icy, and snow-covered areas.
  • Avoid carrying heavy packages in icy or snowy conditions. They may disturb your center of balance.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance when walking. If you are a more able-bodied person, watch out for elderly loved ones and offer them support while walking.

Though these tips might make walking a bit slower, you’ll be glad you put them into practice when you arrive safely at your destination.

Tips for a Safer Environment

Slips and falls can also occur because an elevation change, loose tile or cracked surface. Regular maintenance will help you prevent injuries and create a safer environment.

  • Apply sand or salt to driveways and walkways on a regular basis.
  • Install handrails by steps and stairs.
  • Keep an eye out for cracks and holes in indoor and outdoor surfaces. They can lead to slips and falls due to an uneven surface.
  • Likewise, take note of elevation and compression changes on driveways. If you notice an area has shifted a noticeable amount (1 inch or more), mark it and have someone repair it as soon as possible.
  • Never use stairs as a storage area. Keep them free of items at all times.
  • Repair torn or otherwise damaged tile and carpet.
  • Use gripped, non-slip pads under rugs to keep them from slipping and sliding.

At Matrix Home Health Care Specialists, we’re here for our clients 24/7, no matter the season. To learn more about our comprehensive continuum of care, contact our team of caregivers by calling 952-525-0505.