By Trisha Wameling
As winter approaches, along with the icy conditions, it is crucial to practice fall prevention.
Falls can happen at any age, but for seniors, there is an increased risk — and falls can be especially dangerous.
Luckily, there are lots of ways we can try to avoid falls. In my 16 years of experience as a physical therapist at PACE CNY, I have worked with my team to help many participants practice fall prevention.
In the wintertime, it is important to be aware of upcoming storms and plan ahead. We encourage participants to avoid going out when it is icy or snowing. However, if you do go out, here are a few tips to avoid potential falls:
• Take your time. Rushing increases the potential for falls.
• Wear proper footwear. Buy shoes or boots with rough-textured, anti-slip soles to provide a good grip in rough conditions.
• Create a safety plan. Have a plan for snow and ice removal. Tell a loved one, neighbor or friend when you are leaving and where you are going. If possible, have someone walk with you to ensure you don’t fall.
Although winter is a high-risk time for falls, older adults are at an increased risk of falling year-round. That’s why we practice fall prevention every season. Here are some key strategies:
• Assess Your Home for Risk Factors. At PACE CNY, we conduct home assessments for participants to make recommendations and look for potential fall hazards. Some key things we look for include unnecessary clutter or trip hazards, such as throw rugs. These should be removed to provide ample walking space with room for any assistive devices. It is also important to have proper lighting throughout the home.
• Stay Moving. Staying active promotes strength, mobility and balance. At PACE, we offer fun programs to stay active, including tai chi, Wii bowling, walking groups and more.
• Physical and occupational therapy. This can help evaluate your situation and develop a personalized treatment plan for strength, improved mobility and balance.
If you want to create a comprehensive plan for fall prevention, consider learning more about PACE CNY, where we take a team approach to fall prevention.
Trisha Wameling holds a doctorate in physical therapy and works as a physical therapist at PACE CNY. For more information,visit