Here are five ways to lower the risk of falling during any season, which truly is an urgent issue for those middle-aged and older.
1. Think about previous bruises.
Is there an end table or other piece of furniture that you’ve bumped into more than twice? If so, either move it or get rid of it.
2. Put a traction layer on the slippery shoes.
Nearly everyone has a pair of shoes or boots with a sole so slick that it’s caused – or nearly caused – a fall. No need to get rid of them. Instead get a shoemaker to glue a non-skid layer onto the sole and heel. It doesn’t cost much, and it can save you from the ER.
3. Put a traction layer on places prone to falls.
Ice melt is terrible for the environment, and you can’t always count on it melting every bit of ice. Use stair mats on three-step concrete porches. Use a larger non-skid mat as a path across the driveway to your car door. Bathroom tubs get slick if they aren’t scrubbed regularly; if you’re not a meticulous tub-scrubber, put down a non-skid mat. And don’t forget the trip hazard of some of these items in warm, dry weather.
4. If you use a cane or walking stick, get a crampon.
A crampon goes over the rubber, or in place of the rubber tip. It’s like a cleat, with sharp points to grip on ice or slush. This also goes for people who are on crutches. With a crampon, you can go outside in slippery weather and feel a lot more secure.
5. Get rid of throw rugs, runners and piles of stuff.
If you’ve ever tripped over a wrinkle in a carpet runner or the edge of a throw rug or mat, get rid of them. If you have anything that interferes with an easy traffic-way from one room to another, move them out of the line of traffic.
You can put even more effort into preventing falls. If a ladder or step stool wobbles, fix the wobble or replace the item with one with an even footing.
Assess anything that may pose the risk of a fall and do something to remove or lower the risk.