COLUMBUS - As autumn comes to a close, pledge to "win winter" by taking small steps to avoid a life-changing fall. One in three older Ohioans will fall this year, and the snow and ice of an Ohio winter increase those odds. However, most falls can be prevented by understanding your risk factors and being more aware of your surroundings.
"Falls are not a normal part of aging, just as slipping and sliding need not be part of winter," said Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D., director of the Ohio Department of Aging. "Winning winter starts with making a pledge to stay falls-free no matter what Mother Nature throws at us."
STEADY U Ohio, the state's falls prevention initiative, offers tips to help you "win winter" by preventing falls:
- Dress Defensively - Bundle up, but make sure you can see in all directions and move easily and freely. Wear sturdy shoes or boots with good treads. Wear sunglasses to reduce glare on surfaces.
- Walk Wisely - Slow down and pay attention to how and where you're walking. Allow extra time to get to where you're going. Keep sidewalks and stairs outside your home clean of ice and snow, and keep cords and clutter out of walkways inside.
- Pack Power - Carry a small baggie of salt, sand or kitty litter in your coat for traction on icy paths. Replace worn rubber tips on canes, walkers and crutches.
- Keep Connected - Carry a cell phone and designate someone to call for help if you need it. Let loved ones know when you are leaving the house and when you expect to be back; call them after you return home.
- Healthy Habits - Do some light stretching before you venture out. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which can affect your balance. Stay active all winter to maintain strength and balance.
Find a wealth of tips to help prevent falls in all aspects of life at the STEADY U Ohio website, www.steadyu.ohio.gov. Take the online Falls Risk Self-Assessment and learn about A Matter of Balance, a free program to help older adults learn to see falls as something they can control. Visit often or follow STEADYUOhio on Facebook and Twitter for daily falls prevention tips, and sign up to receive weekly emails with news and resources.
"Let's all pledge to 'win winter' by preventing falls!" added Director Burman.
About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that Ohio is on the leading edge of innovation in responding to the growing and changing aging population. We work with state agencies, area agencies on aging and other local partners to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.
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