Prevent slips and falls

An illustration showing people walking safely in the winter

When winter arrives, it transforms our environment, often making sidewalks and other surfaces treacherous with ice and snow. Slips and falls are not just common but can lead to serious injuries. However, with awareness and the right precautions, many of these accidents can be avoided.

Understanding the risks

Icy conditions create a slippery surface where traction is greatly reduced. This leads to a higher incidence of falls, which can result in anything from minor bruises to more serious fractures or head injuries. While everyone is vulnerable, seniors have a higher risk due to factors such as decreased balance, strength and reaction times.

Proactive measures for seniors

Seniors can take numerous steps to reduce their fall risk during the icy winter months:

  • Stay physically active: Engage in exercises that enhance strength, balance and flexibility. Light weight-lifting, stair climbing, yoga and tai chi are excellent options.
  • Nutrition: Follow Canadian guidelines for calcium and vitamin D consumption to support bone health.
  • Regular health checks: Vision impairments and incorrect medication can increase the risk of falls, so regular check-ups are essential.
  • Home safety: Make sure living spaces are free from trip hazards and well-lit, and install handrails where necessary.

Resources and tips for safe winter walking

  • Beware of icy conditions.
  • Walk safely by planning routes, choosing cleared pathways, opting for non-slip footwear and considering the use of canes or walking aids.
  • Seniors, remember many falls can be prevented. Stay active and adhere to health guidelines to maintain your strength.

For more information on preventing falls and winter walking safety tips, visit the British Columbia Falls & Injury Prevention Coalition's Finding Balance website and the Canada Safety Council website.