Senior safety is serious stuff!
By following these simple suggestions, you can prevent serious injury from occurring when seniors venture outdoors for necessary appointments.
Correct footwear includes those shoes and boots that provide good traction on the heels and soles. Some shoes are made exclusively for seniors, i.e. SASS, ECCO include special anti-skid materials to prevent slips and falls.
CLEAR PATHWAYS INSIDE & OUT:
Inside make sure winter shoes and boots are not in the walkway, if those tempting throw rugs are present, at the very least, make sure they have rubber backing, AND consider using a bench or chair close to the door to sit while taking shoes on/off. Keep the sidewalks and driveways clear of ice. Shovel or blow the snow away as needed, apply de-icing material such as salt to reduce the ice buildup on walkways.
ENTRANCE/EXITS TO HOME:
Ensure steps leading to house are solid and in good repair. Consider installation of sturdy exterior hand railings, many need to add these later in the life. It is worth the expense to have such railings installed by a professional. Take care to eliminate ice, snow, water build-up on steps. Is there one entrance that works best for your senior? Allocate that entrance and be diligent about keeping it clear and using it each time.
USE CAUTION! MOVE SLOWLY & PURPOSELY:
It is best if your senior can take your arm when traversing outside. Take time when moving one place to another- especially in unfamiliar territory like a physician office building, restaurant, or another person’s home. Step carefully and purposefully, use walking devices like canes and walkers as ordered.
MAINTAIN AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE:
Research clearly identifies that an active lifestyle is one way to increase safety and quality of life. By using muscles regularly, movement remains easier and balance is enhanced- especially when going outside in winter conditions. Senior exercise classes, DVDs/Videos/Senior Center exercise programs are a good place to start once physician permission is obtained.
PROVIDE ASSISTANCE BEFORE YOUR SENIOR HAS TO ASK:
As we age, most people have a difficult time asking for assistance. Be pro-active and offer assistance to your senior. Whether it a ride, clearing snow from the home paths and driveways, or offering to pick up groceries, or providing a ride to church. Simple. Be sure your senior knows he/she can ask for help if needed.
SAFETY PLAN WITH INCLEMENT WEATHER:
Consider planned check-in times in case power goes out, make up a small emergency bag with water, list of important phone numbers, medication list, canned food, flashlight/batteries, radio, etc.
Prevention takes planning and purposeful intention. Ensure the safety of your loved one by considering the steps we have outlined above.
What else do you do to ensure your senior is safe during the cold winter months?