Preventing Slips, Protecting Hips

Winter proof your home and lifestyle to avoid common falls

Door and thresholdEveryone knows the punch line, “Have a nice trip; see you next fall,” when someone stumbles. But it’s no joke for people of a certain age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls contribute to 95 percent of all hip fractures.

What’s more, certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis, cancer or stress injuries can weaken bones, making hips more susceptible to breaking.

Few seasons are as accident prone as winter, but there are ways to winter proof your daily life.

Let there be light

During the winter, darkness comes an hour early. This is a problem for individuals with fading eyesight. So light up the walkways and halls around and inside your home. Pay attention to your bedroom, where darkness can cause problems.

  1. Add some night lights where necessary.
  2. Consider leaving a light on in the bathroom.
  3. Beware of long blankets or comforters that extend to the floor.
  4. Be conscious of balance when you get out of bed.

watch your steps

It goes without saying to avoid icy patches, and keep your walkways and stoops clear of snow and sleet. But the throw rug you use to dry your shoes can cause a spill if it’s not secured, or if the corners are turned up. Also, look out for icy water pooling at entrances of mudrooms and garages.

have an emergency plan

If you do have an accident, what’s your next step? Have a list of family members and emergency services ready to call. And keep cordless and cell phones handy as essential lifelines.

Don’t give in to Winter Doldrums. Get moving

The urge to hibernate during winter is normal … for bears, that is! We humans need to stay active to combat the cold weather blues and the balance problems and muscle loss that can contribute to accidents.

So join an exercise class. Try yoga. Take a dance class. Do whatever you can do safely to improve or sustain your mobility. Winter can present obstacles for seniors. But you don’t have to fall for them.

fall hazardIt’s no accident. Fall prevention starts outside your home

Don’t forget to fall proof the exterior of your house, too.

Check off this list of reminders, courtesy of AARP.

  • Be sure there’s adequate lighting to get in and out safely.
  • Install handrails along outdoor steps.
  • Buy sand or salt for icy walkways.
  • Keep steps, sidewalks, decks and porches clear of sticks, rocks, leaves and debris.
  • Repair broken walkways and driveways.
  • Remove shrubs or tree roots sticking out of the ground.
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Free Joint

Help your hips and knees.

Hip and Knee Arthritis: Diagnosis, Treatment and Joint Replacement

Date: Wednesday, February 6
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Location: GW Hospital Auditorium
Presenter: James H. Graeter, MD

Hip and knee pain can prevent you from leading a full life. Discover what you can do to treat arthritis, and, in severe cases, what joint replacement involves.

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Preventing Slips
Protecting Hips
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