Preventing seniors from slips and falls this winter

By Kelly McCarthy

December 30, 2013 Updated Dec 30, 2013 at 7:17 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Icy sidewalks and parking lots come with winter weather each year, but for many senior citizens those conditions could be life threatening if they take a fall.

Broome County's Office for Aging sends out a few tips to senior citizens each year to help them get through the winter season safely.

"We don't bounce like we did when we were toddlers," said program manager Lisa Schuhle, "So when we go down we can all get injured and the older people especially."

Most seniors will say from personal experience that taking a fall becomes more dangerous with age.

"I fell in front of the Weis market probably about a month and a half ago," said Jamie Rando of Binghamton, "And I have two hips that have been replaced so I have to be very careful myself."

Soon after the fall, Jamie Rando took precautions to keep another fall from happening this winter.

"I just went out and got a new pair of boots," Rando said.

Rando and his friends at the First Ward Senior Center are all taking extra steps this winter to stay on their feet.

"I have a cane that I use with cleats on the bottom," said Terry Squires of Binghamton.

The Office for Aging recommends all older adults to have a plan when traveling this winter. Taking a cell phone or life alert system with them whenever they leave the house should be a priority in case they are alone and slip and fall.

"If they don't need to go out on an icy day to stay inside," Schuhle said, "That includes don't try and get your mail, just let it sit there."

Older adults who exercise regularly are at a lower risk of falling. Broome County's Office for Aging said seniors should focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance.

"It prevents people from falling if you keep your muscles firm," Schuhle said, "And it does help with your balance so we do encourage people to stay active when they can."

Broome County's Office for Aging offers two fall prevention programs at the Binghamton YMCA. The programs are free and open to all community members, but require pre-registration. Register by calling (607) 772 - 0560 or (607) 770 - 9622.