When a winter storm bearing heavy amounts of ice and snow makes its way through your neighborhood, getting where you need to go can be tricky. But as we age, ice-covered sidewalks and driveways can become more than just a nuisance.
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According to geriatrician Ronan Factora, MD, people over the age of 65 are more prone to suffering a broken bone from a slip and fall on the ice.
Why winter’s more dangerous as you age
“Osteoporosis is a condition where individuals have thin bones and they’re at risk for breaking things — like their hip, vertebrae or wrist,” Dr. Factora explains. “It leads to hospitalization and it’s the number one reason why people end up in nursing homes.”
So if you’re over the age of 65, or have a history of osteoporosis, it’s best to have someone else clear the driveway and walkways from ice whenever possible, he says.
If you must do it, do it wisely
If clearing the snow is unavoidable, Dr. Factora says it’s best to be very methodical, wear proper footwear with good traction, and take it slow.
For those who have to go outdoors for travel during icy conditions, he says it’s wise to bring someone else along — or at least tell someone else what you’re going to do. That way, if something were to happen and help is needed right away, someone can easily check on you and quickly come over to help.
Always be prepared
The onset of winter weather doesn’t mean that you have to stay confined your home. But Dr. Factora recommends having a plan in place if you want to venture outdoors.
“You shouldn’t feel like you have to be isolated in your home when the weather really turns bad,” he says. “If you have to be out and about, just think ahead. Make sure that you’re taking extra steps to avoid falling, injury and being in a situation where you’re by yourself if something like that were to occur.”