COLUMBUS - After a particularly harsh winter, many Ohioans are eagerly looking forward to spring and summer. However, spring and summer bring new weather-related hazards to prepare for. One in three older adults will fall this year, but falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. The Ohio Department of Aging and the STEADY U Ohio initiative are proud to support the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness to help all Ohioans prepare for whatever conditions spring throws our way.
Falls hazards from spring and summer weather include:
- Rain and mud - Winter thaw and spring storms can create mud, which can make walking surfaces hazardous. Avoid walkways covered with mud. Keep shoes clean of mud and dirt to maximize traction.
- Power outages - Severe weather may cause power outages. Avoid walking in darkness. Keep flashlights, water and other safety supplies on hand to help reduce your risk of falling.
- Storm debris - Spring and summer storms can include high winds and heavy rains, which can cause debris to cover or block walkways. Be alert to obstacles in your path, and if you don't feel safe, find another way.
- Flooding - Never walk or drive into flood waters! Standing water can make you trip, and moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Heat, dehydration and dizziness - Older adults are at a higher risk for heat-related illnesses. Heat and dehydration can make you dizzy and disoriented, which can lead to falls. Drink plenty of liquids and stay indoors or find shade during the hottest part of the day.
As you change your clocks and check smoke detectors on March 9, look around the house for common tripping and slipping hazards:
- Re-arrange furniture for a clear pathway between rooms.
- Remove throw rugs or secure them with double-faced tape or slip-resistant backing.
- Inspect carpet for wear and tear, and replace or secure as needed.
- Move things stored in stairways or walkways to closets, the garage or other storage areas.
- Don't use chairs or other furniture for climbing. Instead, use a ladder or step-stool with a hand rail.
- With paint or durable tape, mark the front edges of steps with bright-colored stripes for better visibility.
Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov and follow SteadyUOhio on Facebook and Twitter for more falls prevention tips and resources. Your area agency on aging also can help you connect to services and resources like minor home modifications and "A Matter of Balance" workshops. Call 1-866-243-5678 for the agency serving you.
About STEADY U Ohio - Falls are an epidemic among our elders and are the number one cause of injuries leading to ER visits, hospital stays and deaths in Ohioans age 65-plus. STEADY U Ohio is a comprehensive falls prevention initiative led by Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Department of Aging, and supported by Ohio government and state business partners to strengthen existing falls prevention activities, identify opportunities for new initiatives and coordinate a statewide educational campaign to bring falls prevention to the forefront of planning for individuals, families, health care providers, business and community leaders and all Ohioans. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov.
About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that Ohio is on the leading edge of innovation in responding to the growing and changing aging population. We work with state agencies, area agencies on aging and other local partners to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.
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