Don’t End Trips With a Tumble

Holiday shopping is winding down as shoppers are hitting the stores looking for bargains. One thing they may not bargain for is a fall.

Crowded stores, door-buster sales and decorations can easily distract seniors from their most important task: staying on their feet. As older adults plan their shopping trips, they should make sure to plan to prevent falls. The Ohio Department of Aging’s STEADY U Ohio initiative and Golden Buckeye program offer these tips to ensure that a holiday shopping trip doesn’t end with a fall:

∫ Shop at off-peak times to avoid crowds and long waits. Bring someone with you who can wait in line for you if you need to sit and rest.

∫ Report hazards, such as spills, loose rugs or mats, and unsafe sidewalks or stairs, to store staff immediately.

∫ Avoid walking around displays that block your view of other shoppers and obstacles.

∫ Ask store staff for help carrying heavy or bulky packages or bags to your vehicle.

Avoid carrying large, low-hanging bags that can trip you.

∫ If you use your cane or walker at home, shop with it, too.

Take advantage of the mobility scooters many stores provide if you could be on your feet for longer than you usually find comfortable.

∫ Tell store staff if you see anybody behaving in an unsafe manner.

∫ If you fall, even if you’re not hurt, notify store staff and management right away so that they can document the incident and take steps to prevent future accidents.

In addition, prepare for icy conditions as the days turn colder. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going and do what you need to do without rushing.

Dress for the weather, but make sure you can see in all directions and move freely. Wear warm shoes that fit well and offer good traction.

One in three older Ohioans will fall this year. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths among Ohioans age 65 and older.

A single fall can lead to a life-altering injury, less independence and disability.

Even if they aren’t injured, some older adults will develop a fear of falling, which increases the risk of falling again.

The STEADY U Ohio initiative offers tips and resources for older adults and their families to make changes to their home, health and habits and lower their falls risk. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for advice, to take an online falls risk self-assessment and to learn more about programs to help people tackle a fear of falling.

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