Going outdoors and getting some air can do wonders for your overall sense of well-being. The tips in the article below will help keep you safe when you go outdoors, no matter the season.
- Stairs and pathways should be in good repair and have good traction. If possible, have a textured surface on them to reduce the risk of slipping.
- The stairs and your pathway should be free of clutter such as snow or leaves.
- Stairs should be equipped with railings that run from the top to the bottom of the steps.
- Take your time when going up and down the stairs. Always use the railing.
- Have proper lighting at all entrances. If possible, have a light that comes on automatically when you approach the entrance.
- Ensure your mailbox is at a place where it is easily accessible.
- Arrange that your doorways have low sills.
- Place a chair near the entrance so you can sit when putting on or taking off your shoes/boots.
- Wear boots or shoes with anti-skid soles.
- Use a cane or a walker to help you walk more steadily. (Always change the rubber tip of your cane if it is worn out.)
- Avoid walking outside with your hands in your pockets or with packages in your hands, as it can affect your balance.
- Give yourself enough time to get where you are going so you don’t have to rush.
- Check where you are walking outside, as not all pathways are always in good condition.
- Ask a friend/family member or a neighbour to come with you when possible.
- Carry a cell phone and a whistle in your pocket for emergencies, especially when walking alone.
- Carry a flashlight with you in the dark.
- Always carry your personal information with you, including a list of medication you take and medication you might be allergic to.
- The number of your house should be clearly visible from the street and well-lit at night. If you live in a rural area, arrange for your name to be on your mailbox. Also, make sure your civic number is visible at the end of your driveway (clear of snow and branches).
- Put salt, sand or non-clumping cat litter on walkways and stairs to keep them free of ice.
- Consider carrying a small bag of salt in your pocket to spread on icy patches when you are walking outside.
- Wear sturdy boots that have a deep tread and fit well.
- Try ice-grippers on your boots for better traction on icy and snow-packed surfaces, but make sure to remove them when walking on smooth surfaces such as tiles or ceramic areas.
- Consider using a walking aid with ice prongs or a ski pole. (You can install an ice pick on your cane; remember to remove it when you get inside.)
- Choose less bulky clothing so you can still move easily.
- Consider wearing sunglasses and a visor to reduce the glare of the sun on the snow.
- On icy surfaces, take small flat-footed steps.
- Always check where you are walking outside, as pathways may not be properly cleared of snow and ice.
- If the weather gets bad, take a taxi. It is not worth the risk.
For more information on preventing falls, please see You CAN Prevent Falls.
The content in the winter safety section was adapted from:
- Public Health Agency of Canada/You CAN Prevent Falls!
- Stand Up! Falls Prevention Program
- Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat Falls Prevention/Gov. of Ontario