British Columbia

Slips and falls taking toll on B.C. Interior seniors

Health officials in the B.C. Interior are urging seniors to be extra cautious following a spike in hip fractures during the recent prolonged cold spell.

Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital has seen spike in hip fractures over last two weeks

At least 14 seniors have suffered hip fractures over the last two weeks due to slippery, snow-packed sidewalks like this one. (Jaimie Kehler)

Health officials in the Interior are urging seniors to be extra cautious in winter conditions following a spike in hip fractures over the last two weeks.

The Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail has treated at least 14 people for broken hips during the prolonged cold snap.

"It's noticeable. We do get hip fractures throughout the winter season always, but there has just been this pronounced little spike in the last couple weeks or so," said Jane Cusden, the interim health service administrator for the Interior Health Authority.

She said the majority of patients admitted to hospital have been seniors and she attributes it to the recent chilly conditions in the Interior.

"Children and skiers love the winter wonderland we have here, but for seniors and those with mobility challenges, the slippery streets can be a hazard for them and lead them to the emergency room."

Slips, trips and falls can happen anywhere

While the majority of hip fractures happen outdoors during winter months, she said seniors often fall indoors as well tripping on blankets, slippers and holiday decorations.

"We know over the Christmas weeks you have all the cords to the Christmas lights and clutter around the house, so de-clutter the pathways through the house so you don't trip over things."

She is also warning seniors to take their time when walking outside as ice continues to build up on sidewalks and city streets. She encourages seniors to consider getting someone else to run errands or using a cane with a spiked end or anti-slip device on particularly cold days.

"We just need to encourage everybody to take special care."

With files from Daybreak South.