National Council on Aging Offers Fall Prevention Resources

Winter raises the risk of dangerous falls for older adults. Review the following tips, then read on to learn about how you can "winterize" yourself and senior loved ones.

NCOA fall prevention graphic

Here are more winter weather fall prevention tips!
"Winterize" shoes, boots, and assistive devices
  • Attach spikeless ice and snow shoe gripper sole covers to shoes for extra stability when walking on slippery surfaces. Look for these at sporting goods stores.
  • Attach an ice gripper cane tip that has spikes on the bottom to penetrate the ice and secure a firm grip. Ice grip tips can be purchased online.
  • Choose winter shoes with rubber soles to maintain traction on slippery surfaces.
  • Encourage older adults to carry a zip top bag filled with a lightweight kitty litter in their pocket and cast it out ahead of themselves on slick surfaces to create inexpensive wheelchair snow tires.
Screen older adults for fall risk 
Have your health care provider check your loved one with the STEADI fall risk screening tool as part of their normal intake and reevaluation process. Learn more about administering the STEADI screen and using evidence-based falls prevention programs in your community.
Give the gift of falls prevention 
  • Fall alarm systems that are motion triggered without hitting a button.
  • Higher toilets in the home.
  • Replace multifocal glasses with single vision eyeglass lenses for walking.
  • Grab bars in bathroom and next to outside steps or inside thresholds.
  • Install firm stair railings on both sides of stairways and set automatic lights over stairways and by outside entrances.
  • Cover the entryway to the home and provide a table to set down bags while finding keys.
  • Shorter days mean more time in the dark—give tiny flashlights to attach to keys, hats, and coat buttons.

Help make this season a safe, warm, and wonderful one for your family and the whole community! 

Source: Mindy Oxman Renfro, PT, PhD, DPT; Chair, American Physical Therapy Association's AGPT Balance & Falls SIG; Lead, Montana's Falls Free Coalition; University of Montana Rural Institute/MonTECH programs.
Graphic courtesy of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Their mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020.