Winter is here – but are those boots keeping seniors safe from falls? Odds are they’re not.
Winter is here. And by the looks of the long-term forecast, it could be a long one. Snow, sleet, and ice make our sidewalks slippery – which, unfortunately, means many older people will wind up in the emergency room due to injuries from slipping on ice.
But fear not. A team of researchers from the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network are dedicated to keeping those falls to a minimum. The team has developed the first test of its kind in the world – the Maximum Achievable Angle (MAA) Testing Method – to validate slip resistant footwear on icy surfaces using real people in a simulated winter environment.
Researchers have tested the slip resistance of 98 winter boots, including both safety and casual footwear. The results show only eight per cent of footwear meeting the MMA minimum slip resistance standard. You can see those results here: www.ratemytreads.com.
Fall prevention is a very important concern among our aging population. Too many older people lose their independence to preventable falls, and the resulting cost to our health care system is astounding. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, falls among older adults cost the U.S. health care system $34 billion in direct medical costs. In Ontario, it is estimated that more than 20,000 people will visit the emergency room this year after falling on ice or snow.
Dr. Jane Barratt is the Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing and is an internationally respected speaker on age related issues across the globe. Dr. Barratt is available to speak with media regarding this topic. Simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.