Winter is a special challenge to the elderly. I took a falls prevention class this past May and June. I was (at 62) the youngest person in the class.
I was saddened, but not surprised, to find that many seniors in my falls prevention class do not try to venture out during the winter.
And here, in upstate New York, we have a long winter.
Why? Fear of falling.
The falls prevention class taught us a number of techniques to deal with winter. They include:
Taking our time in walking or getting to a destination.
If we know we won't be leaving a restaurant or store until dark, being sure we park under a light.
Keeping handrails on our outdoor steps firm. Using tread material on the stairs (which remind me, mine need to be replaced.)
Wearing boots with non skid soles. Totes makes them, and there are my L.L. Bean snow sneakers.
Walking like a penguin.
Making sure, if you walk with a cane, you use a winter tip.
We were told to consider Yaktrax or a similar product. These slip over the soles of your shoes, and provide a lot of traction on ice and snow. My guest photographer, who lives in the countryside, swears by them.
I used a similar product one year, and had problems balancing on it. I have not used Yaktrax. One caution, though - on non ice covered surfaces, the yaktrax become quite slippery. (You don't want to walk on your wood laminate floors with them on, for example.)
Or, you can use walking sticks, hiking sticks or hiking poles. Our instructor explained these make you look sporty or fit.
Sadly, watching someone use a cane brings up quite a different image in our society - the cane user is old, helpless, and other like stereotypes. But snow poles? It's athletic! It's physical fitness! It's exercise!
But, for me and others, the fear of falling remains.
Do you have any techniques for staying safe in snow you would want to share with my readers?