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Avoiding Falls During the Winter

Caution sign during the winter

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Winter is here.

In California, winter brings:

  • Rainy days
  • Colder weather
  • Snow in the mountains

Winter weather conditions can make you more likely to fall.

Walkways can become wet and slippery.

There is less sunlight and more darkness because the days are shorter.

Let’s talk about what you can do to stay safe.

Stay healthy

Have a medical checkup.

Review your medications. Do any of them make you dizzy or sleepy?

Get an eye exam. Make sure you can see well.

Treat colds and ear infections.

Exercise regularly – especially to increase strength and balance.

Make your home safe.

Use good lighting inside and outside your home.

  • Replace burnt-out lights.
  • Add more lights.
  • Keep a light near your bed to turn on at night.

Other ideas to make your home safe

Use a sturdy stepstool to get things from shelves and high cabinets.

Make your bathroom safe.

  • Put nonskid rubber mats in bathtubs and showers.
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom next to the toilet and showers.

Other ideas to make your home safe

Clear paths through hallways and rooms.

Prevent slipping on carpets and rugs, by:

  • Tacking down carpet.
  • Using nonskid area rugs.
  • Using double-sided tape.
  • Removing small throw rugs.

Other ideas to make your home safe

Clear the floors.

  • Pick things up and put them away.
  • Keep walking areas clear of cords and wires.
  • Pick up shoes, papers, books, and clothes from stairs and walkways.

Wear the right shoes.

Shoes with rubber or rough bottoms are the best to prevent slipping and falling.

If it is wet outside, avoid wearing shoes with:

  • Hard plastic soles
  • Leather soles
  • High heels

Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippery socks indoors.

Be careful where you walk.

Hold on to railings, especially when using stairs or ramps.

Avoid slippery paths when possible.

Sweep sidewalks and pathways. Keep them clean and clear of debris.

  • If you see something that could make people fall, slip or trip, pick it up or tell someone.

Keep the floors dry.

Wipe your shoes on floor mats before going inside.

Make sure your umbrella does not drip water on walkways.

Clean up spills right away.

Some people are more likely to fall than others.

You are more likely to fall if:

  • You have poor eyesight
  • You have problems walking
  • You have balance problems
  • You are taking medications that make you dizzy
  • You are older or have trouble moving around
  • You have foot problems

If you fall

Pause before getting up.

  • Make sure you’re okay before you stand.

Tell someone else that you fell – especially if you feel pain or soreness.

  • They can make sure you didn’t hurt yourself.

If you can’t get up, yell for help or try to get to a phone to call 911.

Check out these resources to learn more:

You can also learn more about preventing falls as you age.

Last updated on Mon, 06/21/2010 - 13:46