(Bangor, Maine) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults age 65 and older experiences a fall each year. With cold weather and snow quickly approaching, EMMC’s orthopedic surgeons are encouraging the community to take a few simple steps to avoid outdoor falls this winter.
“Falls happen to people of all ages, but they are more likely to occur in older adults,” said Jessica Aronowitz, MD, a surgeon at EMMC Orthopedic Surgical Specialists. “Slipping on the ice and snow can cause shoulder, hip, or knee problems, which may require medical attention and months of recovery. With a little extra caution, it’s easy to stay safe this winter.”
According to Dr. Aronowitz, there are several things people can do to avoid outdoor falls:
• Be active – Exercise regularly to keep bones and joints healthy and strong. If you are unable to participate in more strenuous activity, try low-impact exercises like yoga, walking, and swimming. Always consult with your doctor prior to starting a new exercise program.
• Choose winter-worthy footwear – When there is snow and ice on the ground, wear boots with good treads on the soles. Buy footwear that fits properly, and keep the laces tied. Avoid high heels, sandals, and shoes with little tread on the soles.
• Prepare your home for winter – Ensure that there is adequate lighting between the front door and vehicles, repair damaged stairway railings, and have a plan in place to remove snow and ice from the driveway as soon as a storm is over. Use salt granules to melt ice in troublesome areas.
• Take your time – Allow a few extra minutes to get to your vehicle, especially after a storm. Always look for the safest and most direct route to your vehicle.
“By following these tips, you may be able to prevent a fall,” adds Dr. Aronowitz. “Winters can be harsh in Maine, and conditions can change quickly. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the local forecast and take extra precautions to stay safe. If you do experience a serious fall, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. For minor falls, call your primary care provider.”
For more information about preventing falls, please call EMMC Orthopedic Surgical Specialists at 973-9980.