Slips and falls can be a significant risk to all ages, especially during icy Montana winters. But for those with mobility challenges or low bone density, they pose an even greater hazard. Here are a few practical tactics to help you prevent slips and falls before a tumble takes a toll on your health.
Be sure to shovel walkways and sidewalks as soon as possible after a snowfall. This keeps compacted snow from turning into a slick and icy hazard. Never underestimate the value of sanding or de-icing slick spots after shoveling, especially in areas with thin black ice that can be easy to overlook.
If you can’t shovel your own walkways, consider enlisting a neighborhood teen looking for their first paying job. You can come to affordable terms that work for both of you and ensure your paths stay clear of ice and snow.
Snow isn’t the only risk that can cause slips. Other hazards in your path, like downed branches, loose pavers, or rocks from nearby landscaping, can trip you up if you’re not careful. Inside, putting loose shoes in their place, and keeping halls clear of clutter can help as well.
It’s easy to prioritize speed when you’re hauling groceries, unloading the car, or working in the garden, leading you to pile up more and more in each trip. But when you’re carrying too much, it keeps you from seeing your feet while you walk, which can cause a fall. It also limits your ability to hold handrails or catch yourself if you trip. Take more trips than you think you need to prevent this common cause of slips.
No matter the season, picking shoes with good tread that grips well will help a lot when you walk. You don’t want to take a fall just because your shoes are worn flat, or your smooth-bottom shoes cater more to fashion than safety. Look for soft rubber soles that have a little flex to help grip on all surfaces.
Even the best and grippiest of boots can only do so much against the slick sidewalks and walking trails of winter. Getting extra traction, like a pair of Yaktrax, can help you get fresh air in all four seasons without worrying about slips and falls. Just remember to take them off before you head inside, since you don’t want to be scuffing floors and sliding across smooth tile or concrete indoors.
When condensation accumulates on steamy bathroom floors, it can create an easy-slip surface to be aware of. You may want to invest in no-slip flooring, or add an extra bath mat or two in order to keep slippery tile covered. Speaking of bath mats, their rubber backing can lose its stick over time, causing mats to slide. Replace them when needed. Inside the bath or shower, a grab bar on the wall and a traction mat on the bottom of the tub will help as well.
Every person is different, and each individual has unique needs. Older adults, people with disabilities, or people with injuries may have different considerations, depending on their mobility. The best way to get individualized recommendations is to seek out advice from a medical professional who has your personal situation in mind.
Caring clinical staff at CHP can work with you to find tactics that will help minimize your risk of slips and falls, customized to your life. Contact your nearest CHP clinic today to get connected with one of our healthcare providers.