It’s tricky for seniors in the winter

I had promised another senior that I would write something on an issue which affects some seniors in Terrace every winter.

Dear Sir:

The Sept. 5th issue of The Terrace Standard carried Claudette Sandecki’s column “It pays to ask for assistance”. I then read Samantha Garvey’s article “Terrace remains a young person’s centre.” It reminded me that I had promised another senior that I would write something on an issue which affects some seniors in Terrace every winter and winter will soon be with us.

Either the last two winters in Terrace have been plagued with an unusual number of icy days or I am just getting older and notice them more. I am more cognizant of the condition of sidewalks and parking lots and a few falls on the ice will do that to you.

Many of us wear those cleats on our shoes when icy conditions prevail. They work well on sidewalks and parking lots but unfortunately they are deadly on those hard, smooth tile surfaces in stores.

You need them on most parking lots and particularly after a light snowfall which has packed and covered the sand from the days before. But make sure you take them off before you walk into the store. The problem is that none of the retail outlets have a bench just inside the door so you can take them off and put them back on when you leave. Except for the library and the Terrace Medical building and they may have been placed there for other reasons.

Two winters ago, I took a very bad fall in one store. I could not sit down and take my yak trax off. Last winter I took them off in my car, walked into a grocery store, made my purchase. On the way out I stopped at the customer service counter and explained to the gentleman how nice it would be if they had a bench just inside so seniors like me could take off their cleats/spikes/yak trax.

He just smiled. I walked out and fell about 3 metres from the door on snowpack that had likely been sanded earlier but it had snowed since. Perhaps it had something to do with me hurrying because a nice person had waved for me to cross. Either way it was not pleasant and each time you fall, you run the risk of doing yourself some serious injury.

So far the only thing I have hurt is my pride.

Many seniors have medical conditions which affects their sense of balance. There may even be liability issues if someone takes a fall on a slippery parking lot. A bench just inside the door with a sign might be a very inexpensive solution.

Yes, you might have to prevent loitering but the convenience will be noted by customers.

Either that or you might put up signs around Terrace that declare: “No country for old folks!”

Helmut Giesbrecht,

Terrace, BC

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