Walking in the Winter: A Guide to Staying Safe

Winter can make it tough, if not dangerous, for seniors to get around. This is especially true when there is snow, ice, or frost on the sidewalk (common during Winter months in BC). However, it’s important to stay active, especially during the winter months.

A few simple measures can make it safer to walk outdoors in the winter. Removing snow and ice, putting sand or salt on areas where people walk, and wearing the right footwear all make a big difference.

We cover some other basic precautions in the rest of this article.

Choose Appropriate Footwear

Before going on a trek in the winter, choose a good pair of winter boots or shoes! For warmth and stability look for these features: well-insulated, waterproof, thick non-slip tread sole made of natural rubber, wide low heels, light-weight.

Ice grippers on footwear can help you walk on hard packed snow and ice. But be careful! Grippers become dangerously slippery and must be removed before walking on smooth surfaces such as stone, tile and ceramic.

Don’t be Ashamed, Grab a Cane!

Don’t be embarrassed, canes are a great way to maintain mobility. When buying one, make sure they’re the right height for you. When your cane is held upside down, the end should be at wrist level.

If using a cane, attach a retractable ice pick to the end. Cane picks will be slippery on hard surfaces so be sure to flip it back as you get indoors. Picks are inexpensive and available at most drug stores. If you need further support, use a walker!

Be Bright & Wear Protection

While preventing a fall is the most important thing, having protection in the case of the worst is also important. Wearing a hip protector (a lightweight belt or pant with shields to guard the hips) is a great way to lessen damage from a fall. It can help protect the hips against fractures and give added confidence while walking.

Plus, while you’re wearing your hip protector, remember to also wear bright clothing to help other road users see you.

Stay Warm

Getting cold causes people to try and rush through the walk to get home. This in-turn can cause falls. Prevent heat loss, and falls, by wearing a warm hat, scarf, and mittens or gloves whenever you go out of the house for an extended period of time. Dressing in layers will also help keep you warm, but be sure not to wear so many layers that you overheat.

And remember, just one bad fall on ice can have long-term consequences. So always get prepared before going outside for a walk in the fall or winter months.

If you have any concerns or would like some help living more comfortably at home or booking an in home visit, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-866-982-2737 and speak with some about setting up an at home care assessment today.

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