Winter and 5 of the greatest fall prevention habits

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Injuries from a fall can have a very significant impact on seniors

“A fall that could be very minor to someone who is 18 years old could be very significant to someone 65 and older.”

McLaren Macomb orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Christopher Vitale continues, saying that falls for a senior citizen can result in a range of injuries — anywhere from wrist fractures he would cast to hip, pelvic or spine fractures and head injuries.

“These would really require some surgical intervention,” he said, “and it’s a long recovery process, sometimes up to a full year.”

The winter months traditionally have brought an increase in senior falls. And those risks aren’t limited to icy sidewalks and snowy driveways. Indoors and at home hold their own fall risks.

Dr. Vitale’s advice? Seniors would best be served to educate themselves and their family members on fall prevention best practices.

Reduced clutter and well-lit areas

Inside the home, many falls are the result of a trip or slip. Simple, everyday items left lying around on the floor can easily trigger a fall. Keeping walkways clear and all areas well lit helps spot these clutter items to better avoid them.


On the stairs, railings are vital, but they have their place in other areas of the home too. On walls along long hallways or around corners, being able to grab a rail for support helps immensely in remaining on solid footing.


Little, seemingly simple practices can play big roles in keeping balanced when walking both indoors and outside. Keeping hands out of your pocket, wearing shoes with the proper traction and grip, and wearing house shoes with backs (rather than slip-ons) will help keep secure footing and balance.

Plan ahead

Check the weather. If snow is expected or conditions are right for icy streets and sidewalks, think twice (or even three times) before heading out. If it’s something that can wait until more favorable conditions, it would be to your benefit to do so.


Keep a list of all your medications. Bring them with you to every doctor’s appointment and discuss them with your physician to see if adding any new medications can cause fall-inducing side effects.

Hear more from Dr. Vitale: