For active seniors: a guide to safe walking in the winter

Winter can be a beautiful season in Canada. But, the cold weather brings with it lots of hazards—especially while getting around. Whether you’re out and about to enjoy the season, or just get from point A to point B, you need to be careful.

Sustaining an injury from slippery conditions on the ground can bring with it serious long-term health problems and a fear of staying active. To prevent a slip and fall this winter here is the Canada Safety Council guide for active Canadian seniors:

1. Make your pathway a safe one

Make sure that surfaces around your home are safe by having them cleared of snow and sprinkled with salt, or sand, if necessary. If you have trouble removing the ice and snow on your own contact a local support agency or other community services for assistance. Report hazards on your walkways to your landlord or your municipal government.

However, while venturing beyond your property you have less control when it comes to the conditions you will face. Carrying a small bag of sand or non-clumping cat litter with you can come in handy when confronted by icy sidewalks while out and about.

2. Be prepared for the weather conditions

Dressing for the weather can make all the difference while you’re out and about in the winter. Proper footwear is key. Wear boots that are insulated, waterproof and light-weight with wide heels, and soles that are thick, treaded and non-slip.

For added grip in icy conditions ice grippers can be helpful but they can easily become dangerous and need to be removed before walking on smooth surfaces like tiles. Be careful if you are considering using them.

To help with balance walking aids like a cane (which an ice pick can be added to) or a walker can help. Also, wearing a hip protector and bright or reflective clothing can help prevent injury while walking outdoors.

3. Know what to do if you’re caught on ice

Walking on ice should be avoided, but if somehow you end up caught on an ice patch on your route walking in a certain way can help make you more stable. First, slow down, keep your body loose and your base wide (feet more than a foot apart). Keep your knees loose but bent to lower your centre of gravity and make your steps with your whole foot, shifting your weight slowly before bringing your feet together again. If shuffling your feet feels better just remember to keep a wide base.

Unfortunately, despite everything we do to prepare for a safe walk we can meet unsafe conditions while outside in the winter. A slip and fall outdoors due to dangerous conditions can change your life.

Fast dial #1000 free from your cell and we’ll get you the support you need.

gray_adminFor active seniors: a guide to safe walking in the winter

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