Don’t Fall this Winter!

The risk of falling and breaking a bone increases in the winter, not just falling outdoors, but indoors too!  Research has shown that less sunlight and activity can make you less steady on your feet.

Luckily, we’ve got a list of MUST HAVE products that will help avoid a dangerous fall…

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1. Snow tires for your feet

Devices like cleats or chains that attach to your shoes provide extra traction on snow and ice. Consider clamp-on cleats for canes and walkers that can be removed when not needed. Even inside, just wearing shoes can help. One recent study shows that people wearing shoes indoors are less likely to fall than those who are barefoot or wearing socks. If you do walk in houseshoes or socks, make sure they havenonslip soles.

2. Grab bars in the tub and shower

It’s best to have two: one vertical bar where you step into the tub or shower and another sloping up toward the showerhead or horizontal. Have a professional install the bars so that they’re securely anchored to the wall; temporary grips that attach with suction might not support your weight.

3. Smart lighting

Install ceiling fixtures or lamps that can be turned on by a switch at the entrance to a room as well as lighted switches at both the top and bottom of stairs. Use night-lights in hallways and bathrooms. If possible, install lights outside, too, especially on steps. Also take steps to reduce glare: hang sheers or blinds on exposed windows and cover lightbulbs with shades large enough to shield your eyes from the bulbs when you are sitting.

4. Safe floors

Wall-to-wall carpeting with a thin pad is the safest underfoot. Use matte, no-shine finishes for hard floors; waxy finishes are slippery. Remove area and throw rugs or secure them to the floor using double-sided tape that goes all the way to the edges.

5. Single-vision eyeglasses

Some people find that bifocals or trifocals upset their balance, leading to tumbles. If that’s you, consider reserving them for reading or computer work. If you need to wear prescription glasses, single-vision is your best bet for most daily activities.

This article and related materials are made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by the multi-state settlement of consumer-fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin (gabapentin). The aricle was adapted from Consumer Reports On Health newsletter.

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