Tips to Prevent Falls During the Winter Months

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older individuals but you do not have to be advanced in years to be at risk of falling. Winter is an especially dangerous time in Montana with weather conditions producing snow, ice, and other hazards. However, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of falling and fall related injuries.

 

Below are some basic recommendations:

 

  • Wear shoes with good traction on the bottom. If conditions are especially icy, use YakTrax or other traction cleats that can be attached to the bottom of your shoes. They are a relatively cheap (around $20 on average) and can make a world of difference.
  • Take shorter steps and walk more flat footed when walking on icy or snowy conditions.
  • If needed, use an assistive device such as a cane to help steady yourself. Special attachments for the cane tip are made specifically for snowy and icy conditions and can be purchased online, PriceRite, or similar stores.
  • Be extra cautious in parking lots. When getting out of your car, use the door to steady yourself and make sure your feet are both firmly on the ground before stepping away from your car. Use the main, cleared paths instead of taking shortcuts between cars since often these are more difficult to clear areas and are prone to be more icy.
  • Plan ahead and pay attention to the weather. If you don’t need to go outside first thing in the morning after a snowfall, stay inside and wait for the weather and sidewalks to clear. If needed, hire someone to clear your sidewalks and/or driveway.
  • Keep your hands free and out of your pockets. Wear gloves and be ready to catch yourself if needed.