Slips and falls are some of the leading causes of injuries for seniors, and many of them can be prevented. Once an elder slips or falls, their life may never be the same. The injury could impact their physical health or emotional well-being and lead to a downward spiral of chronic health problems. Winter is a time where people think more about slips and falls because of slippery, icy surfaces, but this mindset should be kept at the forefront at all times.

Here are smart, practical tips for keeping your loved one safe year round.

Safeguard the Home

Seventy percent of serious injuries occur within 30 yards of the home. Make sure your loved one’s home is as safe as possible. Start by working ground up and look for potential hazards, such as clutter, rugs without slip-free backing and wires and cords. Check the condition of stairs, railings and walkways, and repair damage immediately. Keep areas well lit, and have a system for making sure that all spills are cleaned up right away.

Encourage Alertness

Get yourself and your loved one in the habit of thinking in the moment. It’s easy for Dad to be distracted by other things going on, but when this happens, his mind forgets what he’s doing in the moment. Practice with Dad by keeping his mind focused on walking, using the steps and so forth. This type of thinking can avoid slips, falls and many other types of trouble in general.

Look High, Low and Level

Before entering a room, encourage your loved one to look high, low and level. The goal is to get Mom to identify potential hazards early on, such as a loose rug or broken railing. Instruct her to look all around and then use her best judgement going forward. This type of thinking will become easier over time, but with a mindset like this, your loved one will be cautious before they enter a room and use appropriate lighting.

Take Your Time

Don’t rush your loved one, unless there’s an emergency. Rushing only leads to trouble, as you’ve probably learned yourself a few times. You may be able to rush the kids to school, but Mom or Dad may only end up getting hurt or feeling overwhelmed. Instead, encourage Mom or Dad to take their time and get to their end destination safe and sound.