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Cold and icy conditions can make slips and falls more common during the winter months. And for older adults, the results could be life-threatening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 28,000 older adults died due to injuries from falls in 2015. [1]

By taking a few preventative measures, we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safer.

Some quick facts about slips and falls

  • Did you know that an older adult dies from a fall every 20 minutes in the U.S.? [2]
  • Three million older adults visit the emergency department due to falls each year.
  • Twenty percent of falls result in a serious injury, like broken bones or head injuries.
  • Medical costs from falls in 2015 reached more than $50 billion.

Tips for preventing winter slips and falls

These are just a few ideas that can help keep the seniors in our lives safe during the winter months. What ideas can you and your family and friends add to the list?

Clear the snow

Ensure the driveways and sidewalks are free from snow and ice. Snow may make it difficult to see steps, or a lip in the concrete, or where the flower bed begins and the sidewalk ends. It’s easy for any of us to lose our balance in those circumstances.

Clear the ice

When temperatures stay low, ice can build on porch steps, walkways, and parking areas. Use ice melt and/or sand the icy areas to prevent seniors from slipping on icy surfaces. [3]

Watch the entryway

The snow and ice you track inside near your front door can melt and puddle, causing another slip and fall hazard. Throw down an old towel or quickly mop up any wet and slippery surfaces.

Wear the right shoes

Give yourself a fashion pass and wear footwear that’s practical for the weather and circumstances. Shoes with good traction and tread can and will make a difference.

Ask for and offer help

Offer your loved ones a steady hand or arm. If you’re feeling unsteady, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The alternative isn’t worth the risk.


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
  3. http://seniornews.com/protecting-seniors-winter-slips-falls/