Keeping On Your Feet This Winter
Keeping On Your Feet This Winter – Blog Post #9
Published on Monday 24 January 2024 by Charity Green
Winter brings snow, ice and wet weather, and this can increase the risk of trips, slips and falls.
A fall can be a traumatic experience mentally and physically and have long term health implications – particularly if you are an older person. To reduce your risk of falls, here are some (steady) steps you can take:
❄️ Check your footwear
Make sure the shoes you wear outdoors have good grips and are weather and waterproof. If you are wearing shoes with laces, make sure they are done up securely so they don’t come undone and cause trips. Don’t forget your indoor shoes either – old or poorly designed slippers can cause trips and falls. Make sure your slippers are sturdy and well-fitted and that your feet can’t slide out of them. Choose slippers with sturdy, grippy soles.
❄️ Free ferrules
Ferrules are the rubber feet on walking sticks & walking frames – and just like shoes, they can get worn out and lose their grip. If you live in Cambridge City, East Cambs, South Cambs, Hunts or Fenland you can pick up FREE ferrules at your local public library to keep you safe & steady. They keep different sizes for different walking aids. Find your local library here.
With falls, prevention is better than cure. Exercise classes to improve strength, balance and mobility will keep you steadier on your feet and more confident when you move. There are lots of different local exercise classes you can attend that can help – look out for classes called ‘Strength and Balance’ here or contact Healthy You.
❄️ Falls Prevention
If you have had a fall, or if you are anxious about having a fall, there are NHS and local authority funded services that can help you.
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust’s (CPFT) Community Rehabilitation team work closely with Healthy You to deliver Falls Prevention assessments and interventions. If you have fallen one or more times and are having difficulties managing day to day tasks, then you can ask your GP, community warden, district nurse or another professional for a referral to CPFT’s Community Rehabilitation team.
Alternatively, if you have fallen one or more times, but are managing well with daily tasks and can get out and about, a falls risk assessment by Healthy You may be more appropriate. Healthy You can also support you if you haven’t fallen, but you are feeling unsteady on your feet or are fearful of falling.
If you do not wish to have a formal assessment, you can use the Steady On Your Feet online self-assessment tool to help you identify if you are at risk of falling. You will find lots of simple tips to stay active, independent, and safe during your everyday activities whilst reducing your risk of falls.
Above all, if it gets icy or snowy, avoid going out unless it is absolutely necessary or wait until roads and pavements are less slippery. Neighbours, friends and family won’t mind being asked to fetch things if you need essentials from the shops or from the pharmacy – they’d far rather you stay safe and well.