Each winter comes with the danger of slipping on patches of snow or ice. These hazards are especially dangerous for older adults. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. The Centers for Disease Control reported that falls were the number one reason adults over the age of 45 visit the emergency room. Fractured ankles and broken hips are some of the most common injuries caused by slipping on snow or ice.
5 Ways to Avoid Winter Falls
- Wear the right footwear. Shoes with rubber soles and good tread provide better traction than leather or plastic soles.
- When walking on slippery surfaces, bend your body slightly forward and take shorter strides.
- Allow extra time to get to your destination. Avoid rushing or taking shortcuts across slippery areas.
- Use cleared pathways that have been treated with sand or salt.
- Make sure your footing is solid when getting into or out of a car.
Are you at risk for falling?
Answer these three questions to find out:
- Have you fallen in the past year?
- Do you feel unsteady when standing or walking?
- Do you worry about falling?
If you answered YES to any of these three questions, you may be at risk for falling. Especially if you have gait, strength, or balance problems. Falls are linked to physical conditions, medical problems, medications, or safety hazards in the home. Additionally, if you have a fear of falling this can make you more vulnerable to being less active and falling.
Concerned about falling in your home?
If you’re concerned about falling in your home, remember your plan has a $0 copay for an in-home safety assessment. If your doctor or Care Manager recommends it, a nurse employed by Lifeplans will come to your home to assess your risk of falling1.
Should you have a bone mineral density (BMD) test?
If you recently had a fracture, you may need a BMD test to determine your future risk for fractures and osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor. A BMD test is offered at no charge to you.
1This assessment evaluates your risk of falling. It is not a safety inspection of your home.
Learn more about preventing falls with these articles from our Health Library:
How Our Plans Can Help
Routine Vision Exam
Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred HMO plans and the Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred Supplement One plan include coverage for one routine vision exam each year.
Annual Wellness Exam
Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred plans cover an Annual Wellness Exam each plan year. This is a more comprehensive doctor’s office visit designed to develop or update a personalized plan to prevent disease or disability based on your current health risk factors.