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The NSPA Blog

Driveway Safety Tips for Seniors

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Posted on February 28th, 2018 by Sally Perkins, under Patient Tools, Tips & Resources

One of the most common causes of injury in senior citizens is due to falls around the home. As we age, it becomes easier and easier to lose our balance. A fall onto a hard surface can cause devastating damage to an aging body, leading to fractures, sprained muscles, broken bones, and more.
One of the most dangerous outdoor areas for seniors is the driveway. Its smooth surface and uneven angle can make it difficult to walk across for individuals with mobility issues. Seniors who plan to age in place should take steps to ensure that their driveway is safe to reduce the risk of slips and falls. 

Keep Pathways Clear

If your driveway is cluttered, it increases the likelihood of you tripping and falling over some misplaced object greatly increases. You should take care to keep your driveway accessible and organized, putting away any tools or equipment that you take out of the garage. This will also make it easier to pull into your parking space.
In the wintertime, you should keep your driveway clear of ice and snow. Any icy driveway is likely to result in accidental injuries. If you can’t shovel snow yourself, look into local services or ask a neighbor for assistance. You can also coat your driveway with road grit to prevent ice buildup.

Set Up Outdoor Lighting

At night, it can be difficult to watch your step as you leave the car. Seniors should install outdoor lighting along their driveway so that they don’t lose their footing when it starts to get dark. It’s important to look for lights that are weather-resistant and long-lasting. If you want to save on your energy bill, you can think about solar lighting options or efficient LED bulbs.

Paint the Pavement

If you go to your local home improvement store, you can find specialized outdoor paints that are designed to help increase traction between your shoe and your driveway. If you paint pathways using textured, waterproof paint, it can reduce your chances of slipping, especially in cold or wet weather. You can also find less permanent solutions such as removable abrasive strips or rubber stair treads to help improve grip.

Use an Alert System

As you age, it’s good to have a safety net, especially if you live alone. Medical alert systems such as Life Alert are designed to help seniors stay safe as they age in place by monitoring their vitals and connecting them with emergency services when necessary. If you fall on your driveway and can’t get up, an emergency alert system will ensure that you get the care that you need as soon as possible. 
The driveway is more dangerous than it might first appear, but there are several things that seniors can do to protect themselves from accidental slips and falls. By maintaining your home both inside and out, you can help to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Don’t be Afraid to get Those X-Rays

Lots of times when seniors fall, we’re embarrassed to admit it. If we don’t feel seriously hurt, why would we tell people that we fell? Just last week, NShore Patient Advocates had a client going through this exact circumstance. She fell down and didn’t think it was a big deal, certainly not big enough to tell others about. A few days later her hand was throbbing, so her RN advocate took her to an acute care center for x-rays. Turns out, she had two broken bones. When in doubt, check it out!

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