THE TEMPERATURE isn't the only thing that falls during winter. Health experts warn that as the mercury drops, so could you.
Cold weather and chilly mornings bring an increase in elderly falls, with numbers jumping almost a third in winter, according to new figures from digital healthcare provider Tunstall Healthcare.
When temperatures drop, it is not uncommon for joints and limbs to become stiff, which can greatly reduce your mobility, said Tunstall Australasia Managing Director, Lyn Davies.
"The cold weather makes walking around a little more difficult," she said.
"Limbs can get a bit stiff and it can be hard to get up out of bed or your chair and move about. Icy weather in colder environments can also lead to slippery paths outside and can be a great risk when out and about, or even around the garden."
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, falls lead the cause of hospitalisation - and account for almost half of all hospital injuries.
Tunstall customer care manager, Narelle Hooper, works in the company's 24/7 monitoring centre and works with elderly patients who experience falls. She says there are a few proactive steps you can take to minimise your risk:
- Warm up your body when you are cold by doing some leg stretches and circles to improve your circulation before going to stand up.
- Hold onto something to steady yourself when you stand up. If you have a walking aid, use it.
- Keep hydrated through nice warm cups of tea and soup, which helps to bolster fluids.
- Making your home and surroundings as safe as possible can also reduce the likelihood of a fall.
Ms Hooper says it is important to consider how you interact and move on a day-to-day basis.
"Weight bearing and balance exercises help to improve gait and balance. Whether you are inside or outside, hold onto the railing while walking up or down stairs and take your time," she said.
In the instance you do experience a fall, a wearable fall detector pendant is worth considering.
There are several discreet smart care solutions on the market - such as the Vibby Fall Detector and TX4 Pendant- to help you get the assistance you need promptly - without having to sacrifice your independence.
These two devices contain a personal response system, panic alert, GPS tracker and fall detector all in one. If you have a fall, you can get help quickly and family can be alterted.
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