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Don’t let your holiday shopping trip end with a tumble

| November 17, 2017

COLUMBUS – Holiday shopping is already in full swing and Ohioans are hitting the stores looking for bargains. One thing they may not bargain for is a fall. Crowded stores, door-buster sales and decorations can easily distract you from your most important task: Staying on your feet. As you plan your shopping trip, make sure you also plan to prevent falls. The Ohio Department of Aging’s STEADY U Ohio initiative and Golden Buckeye program offer these tips to ensure that your holiday shopping trip doesn’t end with a fall.

  • 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 for 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 our online falls risk self-assessment and to learn more about programs to help you tackle your fear of falling.

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.

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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