Winter is almost here, and this means icy streets and slippery driveways. These can trigger painful falls, especially in older people. Muscle tears, fractures, strained knees and numerous other injuries caused by falls can lead to more severe health conditions, particularly in the body of an older person.

A study published in 2010 highlighted that 50% of falls that happen among older people occur outside. Falls cost $20 billion/year in healthcare costs in the US. Those over 65 experience falls throughout the year, not just in the winter. Fortunately, they can be prevented. Here are some guidelines you might want to consider.

1. Improve balance

Many older people fall because they don’t have good balance. When your musculature is weak, falling is almost inevitable, so the key to good balance is having strong muscles. Being older doesn’t mean that you can’t work out. Strengthening your hip, leg and ab muscles is an ideal way of regaining your balance. Exercise at home if you can’t afford a therapist, and practice standing on your toes, and then on one leg. There are many benefits to resistance training.

When your muscles are tight, casual falls won’t trigger severe pain; of course, it’s always better to avoid falling in the first place, but what can you do if someone accidentally collides with you on the street? Work on your balance as often as you can, and invest in quality footwear. In wintertime, falls happen all the time and they can be avoided if you wear the right shoes. Boots with excellent traction are highly recommended.

2. Take baby steps on ice

Walking on ice is treacherous for people of all ages. In order to thwart falls, you should shuffle, not stride. This basically means taking baby steps until you move onto a safer walking surface. Keep your knees bent and your feet apart from each other to find balance; then start walking slowly. It’s sometimes tough to do, but it’s the only way to prevent a fall.

3. Wear suitable clothes

It’s important to wear suitable, comfortable clothes in winter to stay warm. However, clothes have another useful purpose, too. They attenuate pain in case you fall on ice. Because you can never know when an accident might happen, it’s vital that you dress accordingly. First, make sure you have a cozy sweater underneath; opt for warming materials such as cotton or wool. Next, your pants should also be made out of a thicker material, and you are advised to put on underparts for increased warmth and safety. Last but not least, opt for weatherproof jacket and a knit beanie.
4. Don’t abuse alcohol

It’s wintertime, and during the Christmas season you might indulge in a few drinks with your loved ones. Don’t overdo it. Indulging too much could interfere with your balance. Also, if you’re taking medication and drink alcohol, you could have serious balance problems. It’s best to limit your intake, or just take a break if you’re planning on walking and shopping.5. Exercise with a caregiver

Not many seniors can turn to specialists in order to stay strong and healthy. If you can’t hire a caregiver, ask a loved one to help you with your weekly workout. Practicing balance exercises is an excellent way of strengthening your muscles. If you can afford to go to a healthcare clinic, do it. These specialized facilities have all kinds of treatments that will enhance the firmness of your bones. Whether you’re choosing palliative care or nutritional care, it is important to be careful and practice weekly.
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It’s difficult to prevent falls in winter, especially if you live alone and you must go outside daily. Shopping, taking out the rubbish, and walking the dog are just some scenarios that can end badly. Dress properly before going outside; wear good quality shoes and don’t forget your glasses to help you improve your sight at a distance. Avoid going out at night because it will be more challenging for you to observe icy spots. Last but not least, you are advised to consult with a nutritionist who might recommend bone strengthening supplements.
– Edward Francis is interested in writing about health and fitness related issues. He has a deep knowledge at this field. Also he writes for a site which provides elderly care homes, retirement villages and residential nursing homes at UK.

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