Preventing Falls This Winter

Kathy M. Kammer, Senior Director of Community Relations at Williamsburg Landing in Williamsburg, Va., advises, “While the winter months can be beautiful and inviting with snow-covered landscapes and ice crystals glistening on trees, it can also be a rather hazardous time of year. Although anyone can suffer a slip or fall, wintertime can be especially risky for people of retirement age.”

Older Adults Have a Higher Risk of Falling

Adds Ms. Kammer, “In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us thatone in every three adults ages 65 and older falls each year. These falls can lead to serious injuries such as hip fractures and head traumas, which can be life threatening and typically require substantial medical intervention and lengthy recovery periods. Among older Americans, falls are actually the leading cause of injury-related deaths.

“The slippery conditions of winter further increase the risk of falling. Fortunately, there are a variety of preventive measures you can take to reduce the hazards and make the winter months safer and more enjoyable.”

Think “Safety First” for a Healthy, Fall-Free Winter

Safety experts from several sources suggest that you plan ahead and follow these important tips to minimize the dangers of the snow and ice that winter brings:

  • Wear shoes or boots with skid-proof soles – Snow and ice can make walking treacherous. Make sure you have “winter-safe” shoes so you’ll be less prone to slips and falls while outdoors.If you don’t have them, it’s time to go shopping for a pair. They are well worth the investment to safeguard your health.
  • Limit your time outdoors when it’s dark –When the visibility is reduced at night or when the weather conditions are poor, it’s a good time to stay inside. It is very easy to miss an icy spot on your sidewalk or the slippery hard-packed snow in the driveway. It’s also not an ideal time to be driving your car. Winter weather conditions can be hazardous for anyone at any time, but especially at night.
  • Be careful when you shovel snow – Shoveling a snowy driveway or an icy sidewalk significantly increases your risk of a fall. Try to find someone to do it for you. If you cannot, be sure to step carefully, take frequent breaks and do not overexert yourself.
  • Carry a cell phone – For safety’s sake, take a cell phone with you if you are going out and always make sure it is fully charged. Program your home phone number and the “911” emergency number for your area to make sure you always have access to help if ever you need it.
    Also, be sure to let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. That way, they can call to seek help if you’re late in returning. It’s always a good idea to have a plan in place in the event that you fall.
  • If you use a cane, make sure it is winterized – Be sure the rubber tip of your cane still has plenty of traction. If it feels smooth, replace it now. Additionally, you can purchase an ice-picklike attachment for your cane for icy conditions. They are available at medical supply stores or you can order one online.
  • Maintain outdoor railings –If you have railings leading up to your front door, be sure that they are in good working condition. They should be safe and sturdy enough to bear your weight and capable of preventing you from falling if you slip on wet or icy steps.
  • Improve your strength and balance Experts say thatless than 40 percent of all older Americans exercise. Unfortunately, without exercise you lose your muscle tone and strength, especially in your legs, which is essential to maintaining balance. The CDC highly recommends tai chi as a great aerobic activity as well as a way to improve your balance. The stronger your body and the better your balance, you are less likely to slip and suffer a dangerous fall. 

Adds Ms. Kammer, “As for staying healthy through the cold winter months, Williamsburg Landing offers a wide variety of fitness and wellness programs in our beautiful, state-of-the-art William A. Doig Health Club & Spa.Our wellness activities are designed to keep you in top shape and ready to live life to the fullest.

“Even if you do not live here, we welcome you to join the fun. For individuals who are not yet residents of Williamsburg Landing, we offer fitness memberships to our beautiful 25,000 square foot comprehensive wellness facility. Your fitness membership begins with a personalized assessment and orientation process, and offers an opportunity to experience our wellness-focused lifestyle.”

Welcome to Williamsburg Landing

Looking for a vibrant, engaging and fulfilling way of life? If so, you’ll find it at Williamsburg Landing.

Nestled on 137 wooded acres along the serene banks of College Creek in Williamsburg, Va., Williamsburg Landing is the premier, not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) serving Williamsburg and its surrounding areas since 1985. With one visit, you’ll understand what makes Williamsburg Landing so special.

Williamsburg Landing is an ideal blend of beautiful landscaping and elegant, Colonial architecture. It invites residents to become part of its vibrant, active lifestyle and rest assured in its award-winning medical care. It eases worries with maintenance-free homes and apartments with resort-style amenities and services. The community thrives with energetic, involved and friendly people who love to live here and the warmth of dedicated, committed professionals who love to work here.

With a past rich in tradition and a future filled with promise, Williamsburg Landing is the perfect place to call home – for today and tomorrow.

To learn more or to schedule a tour, please contact us today!