Island Health warns of slipping dangers, asks people to help seniors
Island Health is warning residents of an increased risk of slipping, and advocates are asking that people look after seniors in their neighbourhoods: (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- As Vancouver Island prepares for snowfall amounts of up to 30 centimetres Tuesday, Island Health and the Office of the Seniors Advocate of British Columbia (SABC) are reminding residents to be cautious when walking, and to help seniors in the community of possible.
Island Health confirmed to CTV News Tuesday that there has been a rise in injuries related to slips and falls as snow has settled over the area.
On Monday alone, BC Emergency Health Services attended to more than 50 reports of people falling and injuring themselves.
Meanwhile, SABC is calling on the community to support their senior neighbours if possible, as snowy and icy sidewalks, steps and driveways can pose a danger to elderly islanders who may already experience mobility issues.
Besides causing mobility hazards, SABC says that snow covered driveways and steps can also impede medical and grocery deliveries to seniors, as well as homecare services.
"I would ask everyone to watch out for the seniors in their lives and in their neighbourhoods," said B.C. seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie. "As the snow falls, please consider clearing the sidewalk and driveway, and perhaps salt the walkways for neighbours who are seniors.
"This is especially important in areas such as southern Vancouver Island and the lower mainland, where snow is uncommon, and seniors and service providers may not have plans in place to deal with snow removal," adds the SABC.
The City of Victoria is also reminding residents that a local bylaw requires homeowners and businesses to clear ice from sidewalks in front of their property by 10 a.m. each day.
The city also asks that people use environmentally sensitive ice melt
To help reduce your chances of falling or slipping outdoors, Island Health has released a number of safety tips. The advice includes:
- Wear proper fitting, supportive footwear appropriate to the weather
- Keep your centre of gravity over your feet and hands out of your pockets to maintain balance
- Walk slowly, penguin-style walk, and pay attention to where you are going
- Use handrails when available, especially on steps
- Use a backpack instead of carrying a purse – this will improve your balance
- Sprinkle sand or salt around your home and on sidewalks to improve traction
- Snow removal:
- Be aware of the physical strain of shovelling snow
- Pace yourself
- Be a good neighbour – help seniors who are not able to keep their sidewalks safe
"Island Health advises everyone, particularly seniors, to be extremely cautious when they venture outdoors in snowy and icy conditions," said the health organization in a statement.
"We are seeing more people in our emergency departments with slip and fall related injuries."