CLEVELAND – When a winter storm bearing heavy amounts of ice and snow makes its way through your neighborhood, getting where you need to go can be tricky.
But as we age, ice-covered sidewalks and driveways can become more than just a nuisance.
According to Ronan Factora, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, people over the age of 65 are more prone to suffering a broken bone from a slip and fall on the ice.
“Osteoporosis is a condition where individuals have thin bones and they’re at risk for breaking things like their hip or their vertebrae or their wrist,” said Dr. Factora. “It leads to hospitalization and it’s the number one reason why people end up in nursing homes.”
Dr. Factora said for those who are over the age of 65, or have a history of osteoporosis, it’s best to have someone else clear the driveway and walkways from ice whenever possible.
If clearing the snow is unavoidable, he said it’s best to be very methodical, wear proper footwear with good traction, and take it slow.
For those who have to go outdoors for travel during icy conditions, Dr. Factora said it is wise to bring someone else along or tell someone else what you are going to do. That way if something were to happen and help is needed right away, there is someone there to help or check on you.
And the onset of winter weather does not mean that people have to stay confined their homes, but Dr. Factora said people who do plan to venture outdoors should have a plan in place.
“You shouldn’t feel like you have to be isolated in your home when the weather really turns bad,” he said. “And if you have to be out and about, just think ahead and make sure that you’re taking extra steps to make sure you’re going to avoid falling, avoiding an injury and avoiding a situation where you have to be by yourself if something like that were to occur.”