Although most would consider walking to be a safe form of exercise for people of any age, there are some risks involved for pedestrians due to traffic on the roads. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 5,376 pedestrians died in accidents during 2015 and another 129,000 were treated in an emergency room. The CDC places seniors in one of the highest risk groups for injury or death as pedestrians saying that they account for 19 percent of pedestrian deaths and 13 percent of injuries. Since August is National Traffic Awareness Month, it’s a good time to consider how safe your senior family member is when they are out walking. Here are some safety tips to help keep seniors safe during walks.
Use Sidewalks and Paths
The safest places to walk are on sidewalks and paths. Whenever possible, seniors should stick to walking in areas where they can walk safely away from traffic. If there are no sidewalks in their neighborhood, a home care provider may be able to drive them to a park with a walking path or even to a mall where they can walk inside and away from traffic.
Walk Against Traffic
If your parent must walk alongside a road, they should walk in the shoulder and face oncoming traffic. This way they can see what is coming and react if necessary.
Wear Bright Clothing During the Day
Your parent should choose brightly colored clothes that are easily visible to drivers. If your parent has difficulty seeing colors accurately due to vision changes, a home care provider can help them to pick appropriate clothing.
Lights and Reflectors for Night Walking
Truthfully, it’s probably best if your parent does not walk at night. However, if they must, they should wear clothing with reflective strips, such as a safety vest. It’s also a good idea to carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp.
Remind your parent to use crosswalks when crossing the street. They should also be mindful of traffic and look both ways before crossing. Make certain all lanes of traffic are clear before crossing. If the crosswalk has a traffic signal (walk/don’t walk sign), it’s important to obey the signals. If there is a driver waiting to turn, making eye contact with the driver can ensure that they will not turn as your parent crosses the street.
Put the Cell Phone Away
Distracted walking can be dangerous. Your parent should not attempt to walk while texting or talking on the phone. If they need to answer a call or text, they should stop walking while doing so.
Growing older doesn’t have to keep seniors from walking for exercise or enjoyment. If you are concerned about your parent’s safety while they are walking due to cognitive decline or a physical condition, a home care provider can walk with your parent to keep them safe. Home care providers can assist your parent with preparing for a walk by making sure they have good walking shoes on as well as brightly colored clothing.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional home care services in Piedmont, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203
At Aviva, we also use the latest in health technology to maximize opportunities for communication between all members of our client’s care circles. We utilize nursing oversight to ensure that we are in compliance with physician orders, and that our careplans are being properly administered. Lastly, Aviva is a proud member of The Senior’s Choice, a national network of leading home care agencies that share best practices and focus on continual improvement.
As owner of the business, I also promise to you my direct involvement in your loved ones care, and will always make myself available for feedback and improvements in our service. I look forward to working with you and your loved one on creating a care plan that is perfectly suited to the family's needs. Thank you for considering Aviva as your care partner.