With the onslaught of winter, the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center have released tips for older adults to assist in preparing for the potential hazards of colder weather, including fall prevention.
Evelyn Granieri, MD, MPH. director of the division of geriatrics, New York-Prebyterian Hospital/The Allen Hospital, emphasizes that, “Something as simple as a fall can be devastating for older men and women. Before the cold weather arrives, it is important to prepare.”
In a recent news release, Granieri goes on to outline key concerns facing older adults, particularly those aging in place, during the winter. These concerns include icy streets. Granieri advises individuals who use a cane to replace the rubber tip prior to it becoming worn and smooth, as it can become slippery on wet ice.
Falling in the home is another danger, Granier says, as winter brings with it fewer hours of daylight and older adults often require a higher level of illumination in the home. According to Granieri, ensuring that there are no great lighting contrasts from one room to another, taping loose extension cords to the floor, and ensuring that rugs are not wrinkled or torn, is key in preventing falls.
Granieri also cautions older adults to avoid strenuous activities such as shoveling snow. If individuals must shovel, she advises older adults to warm up with stretching exercises and take frequent breaks throughout.
In the event of a home emergency, Granieri says, older adults who live alone should have a way to communicate quickly with neighbors, family, or medical personnel. A cell phone or personal emergency response system should be readily available to summon help if necessary, she notes.
Source(s): New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center