Winter in northern Minnesota can last up to six months or more and can be a contributing factor for injury or death resulting from a fall. Here are tips to move more confidently and help maintain balance during the winter season.
Good footwear is a top priority. Choose shoes/boots with robust tread. Ice/snow grippers can provide additional traction. When walking, take short steps with toes pointed slightly outward, like a penguin. This provides a more stable base of support. Keep hands out of pockets as it changes one’s balance and increases the risk of broken bones if a fall does occur.
Keep home walkways/driveways clear of snow and ice. Spread sand near the home entryway for additional grip/friction or use ice melt products. Thin sheets of ice may appear as wet pavement (black ice), so plan for the unexpected and keep a plastic bag/shaker jar with sand in the car.
Choose walking paths that are well-lit and clear of snow and ice. Don’t rush. Plan ahead and take the extra time needed to be safe. Use handrails whenever possible. A ski pole or walking stick can provide additional balance support. Keep a cell phone accessible to call for help if needed.
“Who Do You Call if You Fall?” Call 911. The Cass County Sheriff’s Dept. will provide a lift assist without charge. And they will determine if an ambulance is needed should the fall be serious with a potential injury.
The Fifth Annual Cass County Falls Prevention Health Fair continues on the LiveHealthy website. We hope the various articles and tips are helpful and have increased awareness so that a fall may be prevented. Word search puzzles will be available at the following locations through the end of October: Faith in Action, Hackensack; Lori Luv’s, Longville; Cass County Health Human Veteran Services, Walker; the Pine River - Backus Family Center and the Northland Family Service Center in Remer.
For more falls prevention information go to the Cass County Live Healthy website for articles and videos: www.co.cass.mn.us/livehealthy/falls_prevention.php.
A serious fall and injury can be avoided. Be smart. Keep active and strong. Enjoy life to its fullest. Remember who to call after a fall; 911 Lift Assist.