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Avoiding winter slips, falls, and injuries

Avoiding winter slips, falls, and injuries. Woman wearing a medical alert pendant and drinking something warm

Across Canada, winter weather can range from cold and wet to blustering winds and heavy snow, but you can still find ways to prepare for changing conditions. Be aware of extreme cold weather warnings and be sure to dress accordingly or try to limit exposure to harsh conditions altogether. 

Environment Canada warns that frostbite can occur in as little as ten minutes when skin is exposed to temperatures between -28 to -39° Celsius. Additionally, exposure to chilly, wet conditions can lead to hypothermia. Having winter accessories ready is crucial to staying safe outdoors such as cleats if you’re in Quebec to cozy mittens and hats in the Prairies to warm waterproof jackets and boots in the B.C.

Synonymous with winter weather preparation is the anticipation of ice and snow, which increases the likelihood of slips and falls for everyone. Falls are the leading cause of injury among older Canadians; in fact, 85% of injury-related hospitalizations among those 65 and older are caused by falls. Over one-third of older adults are admitted to long-term care after being hospitalized for a fall, so anticipating that wintertime increases the likelihood of falls can help caregivers and loved ones better prepare.

Having de-icing supplies on hand and arranging for extra support to clear pathways and driveways can help reduce the risk of a serious fall or strain from shovelling snow. Inspecting and changing your car’s winter tires, windshield wipers, and windshield washer fluid before the first big snowfall can also help to keep you safe on the roads.

Some things to check before winter hits:

  • Pull any winter clothes and accessories out of storage early so you’re prepared for potentially sudden (and severe) weather changes
  • Organize the tools and help you’ll need to clear snow from outdoor pathways, including any de-icing supplies as early as possible
  • Ensure you can call for emergency help if a slip or fall does occur (wearing the TELUS Health Medical Alert pendant while doing activities that may increase your risk of a fall helps you access a trained medical alert operator at the push of a button)

Staying comfortable indoors during the winter

While it may be tempting to blast the heat on a snowy day or, alternatively, to lower the thermostat to save on hydro bills, maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature is essential for your well-being and for the stability of any medications you may take. Some medicines and chronic conditions are affected by temperature, so TELUS Health recommends keeping your home between 19-21° Celsius for comfort and safety.

Though it’s easier to be physically active in the warmer months with walks or hikes, staying active during the winter is crucial. Maintaining an exercise program for strength and mobility helps prevent falls and can dramatically speed up recovery from injuries. Activities like yoga, Tai Chi, dancing, and light resistance training can be done in the comfort of your home, with guided videos, or at your local community centre.

Feeling more independent in the winter

If you’re venturing out alone, TELUS Health recommends letting someone know where you’re off to (and when you’re due back) as a precaution. Carrying a personal emergency response system (PERS) like TELUS Health Medical Alert  is a great way to have more independence at home or on the go. A medical alert device offers you an emergency response service at the push of a button with a trained medical alert operator ready to help at the other end of the line. With features like the state-of-the-art fall detection feature1, advanced Canada-wide location tracking2 and the Caregiver Mobile app, you and your loved ones can feel more peace of mind knowing you have access to 24/7 emergency support when you need it most — and at the push of a button.

Some ways to help you stay independent:

  • Consider a PERS like TELUS Health Medical Alert
  • Chat openly about your needs and expectations with loved ones so they know how to best support you

Following these winter weather preparation tips can help ensure you and your home are ready for the tough season ahead. Browse the latest offers on TELUS Health Medical Alert and LivingWell Companionᵀᴹ Home and enjoy the comfort that 24/7 emergency support offers. So, whether you’re shoveling the driveway, going for a snowy walk, or braving the mall traffic, you can feel safer knowing that help is just a simple push of a button away.

Keep living independently and enjoy peace of mind with TELUS Health Medical Alert Pendant
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1. The available fall detection feature might not detect all falls. If you do fall, do not wait for the call, always press and hold the button for help when possible. The device includes an alarm cancelling feature so that if you don't need assistance, you can tell the operator when asked.

2. TELUS Health Medical Alert Pendant operates anywhere in Canada where cellular coverage is available. GPS capabilities are approximate and may not always be possible.