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How to help aging parents stay safe when walking


Your parents have been taking care of themselves for years, so you and your parents might assume that they can continue doing things as they always have. However, age can make it more difficult, and sometimes even unsafe, for your parents to carry on without change.

Going for walks can be one of those activities that can become more challenging with age. Walking can be an excellent way for your parents to maintain their health, but they may need to take extra care to maintain safety.

Some signs of age that could increase your parents’ risks, include:

  • Stiff joints
  • Sore or weakened muscles
  • Reduced flexibility
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Slower reflexes

What are some extra safety precautions people can take as they get older?

Depending on the situation, your parents may still be able to safely go for walks. However, as they age, they may need to consider adding a few new habits to their routine.

Sore muscles, stiff joints or reduced flexibility could affect your parents’ ability to turn their head, neck or shoulders. This may make it difficult for them to look both ways before crossing the road. A good alternative may be for them to make it a habit of turning their entire body left and right when looking for traffic.

Other habits you may encourage your parents to make, include:

  • Wearing sturdy shoes
  • Wearing glasses with an updated prescription
  • Wearing a hearing aid, if needed
  • Using paths or sidewalks whenever possible
  • Avoiding hazardous crossings when possible
  • Dressing in bright clothes that make them more visible to drivers
  • Waiting for a fresh green signal if there is any concern about having enough time to cross the street
  • Walking with a companion, instead of walking alone

There are a variety of ways your aging parents can improve their safety when out walking. However, motorists have a responsibility to look for pedestrians and maneuver safely on the road. If one of your parents is injured by a car while walking, they may need help exploring their legal options. It may be reasonable for them to hold the driver accountable for his or her reckless actions.