Around 36 million older adults fall each year. Some of those falls do little more than hurt their pride, but some about 3 million result in an emergency room or urgent care clinic visit. Around 300,000 of those falls result in a hip fracture that requires a hospital stay. Your mom loves to walk throughout the year, and winter weather doesn’t stop her. She continues to head outside for a walk after lunch, but you worry a lot about her safety. Hire in-home care providers to help alleviate some worries.
How can you promote safe winter walks and help her avoid a fall?
Hire Someone to Maintain the Driveway and Sidewalks and Walk Where It’s Clear
Hire someone to shovel and snowplow your mom’s sidewalks, steps, and driveway. When they’re done clearing snow, have them spread ashes, sand, or pet-friendly sat to melt any ice and add traction.
Your mom may have a favorite place to walk, but if it’s icy and hasn’t been maintained, she shouldn’t risk her safety. She should find a backup place to walk. Instead of walking around the local park, she could walk around her neighborhood or yard.
She may enjoy going to the local pedestrian mall and walking there instead. The pedestrian area won’t have traffic to contend with, and the walkways are level and treated with materials to prevent a slip and fall.
Invest in Ice Cleats or Get Her a Cane That has an Ice Pick
Rubberized soles are ideal, and the deeper the traction is on her winter boots, the better the grip. If you’re not sure her boot’s traction is enough, purchase strap-on ice cleats like YakTrax. These ice cleats are driven into ice or snow with your mom’s body weight, creating a non-slip boot sole.
If your mom walks with a cane, look for one that has an ice pick attachment on the end. It helps with traction. As your mom swings the cane forward for her next step, the series of ice picks on the bottom of the cane grip the ice or packed snow to keep it from slipping around when she puts pressure on the cane.
Carry a Phone
When your mom goes for a walk, make sure she has a phone with her. She needs to be able to call for help if something happens. A medical alert system that connects to cell towers is also helpful if she doesn’t have a cell phone.
Walk With an In-Home Care Aide
Winter boots with great tread can only do so much to help your mom stay on her feet. Hire an in-home care aide to join her on walks or to get the mail or newspaper for her. Her caregiver can bring the trash bins to the curb and bring them back again. Call our in-home care agency to discuss caregiver pricing and schedules for the winter.