COLUMBUS — While holiday shopping is in full swing and Ohioans are hitting the stores, the Ohio Department of Aging’s STEADY U Ohio initiative and Golden Buckeye program offer tips to ensure that a holiday shopping trip doesn’t end with a fall.
Crowded stores, door-buster sales, and decorations can easily distract shoppers from their most important task: staying on their feet. While planning a shopping trip, shoppers should also make sure to plan to prevent falls.
The STEADY U Ohio initiative and Golden Buckeye program offers these fall-free tips:
— 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 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 online falls risk self-assessment, and to learn more about programs to help tackle a fear of falling.