Fall is arguably the most beautiful time of the year. And while the fallen leaves, change in weather and other seasonal shifts are quite enjoyable to most of us, they can also be quite dangerous for seniors and people with impaired mobility. But fear not, even though many things associated with fall can be dangerous, there are ways to reduce the risk to a minimum and make fall enjoyable for seniors too.
Continue reading below for a list of ways you can make fall less fall-inducing for seniors.
Clean Up Fallen Leaves
As beautiful as they are, the fallen leaves off trees are one of the most dangerous things about fall for seniors and people with impaired mobility. Not only can they disguise bumps, holes and other obstructions in someone's path, but if they get wet, they can turn ordinary sidewalks and walkways into slip and slides. For this reason, we strongly recommend taking the time to clear pathways at least once a week. Yes, this can be quite demanding and repetitive, but it can easily be the difference between a family member slipping or falling and not.
Be Extra Cautious When It Rains
The downside to fall is that it tends to rain, a lot. And yes, we were fortunate enough to enjoy a summer of nothing but beach weather, so we shouldn’t complain. But, aside from the dreariness of a rainy day, fall rain can also raise some problems for some people. For starters, just like how fallen leaves disguise the ground beneath them, puddles can do the same thing. It’s important to take extra caution if you need to walk through a puddle as it can be hiding holes in the pavement, storm grates and on hiking trails, potentially roots and slick mud. And as we mentioned earlier, rain can also turn beautiful fallen leaves into slippery patches, so it's important to remember to take extra caution when walking over a wet patch of leaves. Even if the leaves appear to be dry, they can often remain quite wet underneath for a long time.
Complete any Exterior Home Maintenance
Before we know it, the snow will be falling, and winter will have arrived. That's why it's important to take this time to complete any exterior home maintenance you may have been putting off. This can include replacing or fixing walkway steps, trimming back dead branches on trees and installing additional lights to name just a few. We recommend doing these things now because nobody likes to work outside in the cold, but also because walkways and pathways will start to become slipperier, dead tree branches will fall due to high winds and the days will begin to get shorter. All of these things can create obstacles and obstructions for some people and can make simple tasks more treacherous.
Keep Entryways Clear
Fall means cooler temperatures, and that means coats, scarves and boots. And as comfy as these items are to wear, inevitably, jackets and scarves will fall off their hooks onto the floor and boots will end up scattered all over floor mats. This is when they create problems for some people. Fallen coats and scarves as well as scattered boots, all create tripping hazards that can be quite dangerous for people returning home in the dark or just unaware of their position. We suggest storing fall items in a nearby closet and only leaving absolute necessities at the front door. This will minimize the risk by eliminating tripping hazards as well as clean up cluttered entryways.
Other Fall Tips
On top of the increased risk of falling, fall can also create problems for some people thanks to its cooler temperatures. And while cooler temperatures won’t induce slips or falls, they can still cause serious health problems and should be prepared for as well.
Get Your HVAC Inspected
Cold temperatures can be quite harmful to seniors. That’s why we recommend getting your HVAC system inspected, cleaned and fixed before the temperature truly drops. The last thing you want is for your system to fail on a cold fall or even winter day and leave your older relatives without any heat.
Complete any Interior Home Maintenance
Just like how we recommend completing any exterior home repairs and maintenance, you should also look to complete any interior maintenance at this time as well. This can include replacing or fixing drafty windows and doors, insulting uninsulated attics and crawlspaces or even simply installing additional heaters, to name a few. All of these things can help your home stay as warm and dry as possible when the temperatures drop, eliminating the chance of a cool breeze entering your home or mould/bacteria growing in unwanted spaces.
Fall weather can change quickly and without notice. That's why we recommend dressing in layers anytime you leave this house. This makes it possible to ditch layers of clothing when the sun is shining, and the temperature is warm and also put them back on when the sun goes away, and the temperatures drop a little. This is a tip we feel people of all ages should follow to make sure they don't end up with an early case of the sniffles or flu.
We hope you've learned a thing or two from our list above and pass it along to older relatives or seniors in your life. And as careful as we all may be this season, we know accidents will happen. And if they do, we strongly recommend visiting our office or another rehabilitation clinic immediately. As we get older, we don't bounce back from injury as quickly as we used to and so it's important to receive treatment and medical attention as soon as possible to ensure a full recovery.
If you have any questions regarding anything talked about above or are unsure of who you should see to treat an injury, we encourage you to reach out to us by phone or email.