The average cost of a slip and fall injury exceeds $12,000. Slips and falls are much more likely to occur during the winter months, and the least expensive way to help reduce the likelihood of these accidents is to use ice melt, which is less than $20 a bag. But before you throw that ice melt on your walkways and parking areas, check out these dos and doníts.

Donít apply too much

Less is more when it comes to ice melt. Applying excessive amounts of ice melt does not speed thawing, can lead to environmental damage and can result in excess product being tracked inside. Ice melt residue on hard-surfaced floors can reduce traction by over 40 percent, which could lead to slips and falls within your home.

Although a general rule of thumb is to use Ĺ cup of ice melt per square yard, every ice melt product is different, so it is important to read the application instructions before using the product. Instead of using a scoop or shovel, use a handheld fertilizer spreader for small areas and a walk-behind spreader for larger areas to make sure that ice melt is evenly distributed. Consider using a product with a color additive, which helps with even distribution of the ice melt.

Do apply safely

Reference the application instructions for ice melt safety information. For example, when using calcium or magnesium chloride products, wearing protective gloves is a must. Always wear appropriate footwear when working outdoors on snowy or icy surfaces. Ice cleats or overshoes with abrasive pads are recommended for icy conditions, but remember to take them off when re-entering your home.

Do apply at the right time

Ice melt should be applied before precipitation freezes or immediately after clearing the snow. Shoveling the slush layer from walkways after the ice melt has done its job helps reduce concrete damage from water absorption and excess thaw/refreeze cycles. Use a commercial quality sealant to help prevent moisture from seeping into the pores and cracks in concrete frequently treated with ice melt.

Do use the right kind of ice melt

There are many types of ice melt products on the market, each with unique properties and costs. The cost of these blends goes up as the temperature rating goes down. You may want to have more than one type of ice melt on hand. For example, rock salt may be a good choice for late fall or early spring, but a magnesium/calcium chloride blend may be needed in January or February.

Join the ambassador singers

Do you like to sing? The Ambassador Singers invite you to come join the fun. The singers meet every Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. and practice for about an hour. Occasionally they perform for groups and businesses. Not a good singer? Doesnít matter. They want friendly faces and happy voices. Join us.

Crafty assistance

The Senior Center has a wonderful craft shop which can help you in two ways. First, if you are looking for a hand-crafted gift for someone special, think of the Senior Center Craft Shop for gift ideas. Second, if you are a crafter then our craft shop can be a source for you to display and sell your items. Bring your hand-crafted items in on the 2nd or 4th Friday from 10 a.m. until noon. You set the price. If you volunteer at the craft shop then no commission is charged to sell your items.

Meals on Wheels has openings

A few openings are available for Meals on Wheels customers. If you are homebound, unable to cook for yourself or eat out, call Patti at the Senior Center at 272-3620. A physicianís order is required. Meals are provided by St. Catherine Hospital. Meals are $3 each with scholarships available. Many thanks to the volunteers who delivered Meals on Wheels last week. Are you interested in helping with Meals on Wheels? Substitute drivers are always needed. If you would like to help, call Patti at 272-3620 or 260-6282.

Weekly activities

Thursday, December 18th has TOPS at 8:30 am followed by Art Class at 10 a.m. Our Christmas dinner sponsored by Commerce Bank is at noon. Skip-Bo is at 1 p.m. The Ambassador Singers will be performing at Homestead at 1:00 pm. The Association board meets at 1 p.m. Bingo begins at 1:30 p.m. Strength Training for Seniors is at 5:15 p.m. and yoga is at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 19th has line dancing at 8:30 a.m. A nurse from St. Catherine Hospital is available from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Gentle Exercises is at 11 a.m. Bridge begins at 12:45 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 20th the pool room is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 21st has duplicate bridge at 2 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 22nd has double pinochle at 12:40 p.m., Strength Training for Seniors at 5:15 p.m. and duplicate bridge at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 23rd the day begins with walking at 8:30 a.m. Gentle Exercises are at 11 a.m. Pitch starts at 12:30 p.m. Bridge is at 1:15 p.m. Yoga is at 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 24th the Senior Center and Finney County Transit will close at 1 p.m. Happy holidays from the staff and board of directors of the Senior Center and Finney County Transit. Services will resume on Monday, Dec. 29th at the regular times.

Healthy eating goal

Decemberís healthy eating goal is to find joy in eating healthy foods and share that joy with others.

Menu for the week:

Thursday: Christmas dinner sponsored by Commerce Bank: baked ham, sweet potatoes, California blend vegetables, cinnamon apple slices, roll and cake.

Friday: Turkey casserole, green beans, beets, roll and mandarin oranges.

Monday: Meat loaf, spinach, beets, bread and ambrosia.

Tuesday: Sweet/Sour chicken, rice, oriental vegetables, roll and pineapple.

Wednesday: Ham & beans, marinated tomatoes, steamed cabbage, bread and peaches.

Check out our website at www.seniorcenterfc.com