Taking Steps to Stay Safe in a Winter Wonderland

For all the beauty that a Wisconsin winter can bring, the snow, ice and sometimes sub-zero temperatures can also cause an increase in unsafe situations for elderly or disabled individuals who are already struggling with safety.

Slick sidewalks and snow-covered walkways can be challenging to maneuver for everyone. But winter in Wisconsin can be especially unfriendly to seniors, especially those with difficulty getting around.

Whether taking a walk around the block or simply walking from the car into a store, using a  device such as a cane or a walker can sometimes provide just the support needed to increase getting around safely.

To increase your safety level, make sure that if you are using a walker or cane that it is the right size for you. An improperly sized device can put too much strain on the back and cause pain or discomfort. Also, consider purchasing accessories for your devices such as walker baskets which allow you to keep your hands free, or grips for the tips of canes to make them more effective in slippery situations.

Not sure what type of equipment you need? Stop by an SSM Health at Home Medical Equipment Store and knowledgeable staff members can assist you with mobility product selection and sizing. They can also direct you to different types of accessories to help increase your safety.

In addition to staying safe outdoors, it is important to think about indoor safety during the winter too. Colder temperatures outside can lower temperatures inside.

According to the National Institute of Health, elderly individuals are especially vulnerable to hyperthermia since their bodies are less able to withstand cold for long periods of time. Even a small drop in temperature can lead to hypothermia in seniors, as their bodies tend to generate less heat than younger people. And the addition of certain types of medications may also reduce temperature responses.

If you or a loved one are concerned about safety, falls, are experiencing issues getting around or have questions about home medical equipment or home health care in general, we can help. SSM Health at Home offers informational visits to anyone with questions regarding our services. To schedule an informational visit, call 800-924-2273 or contact us online.