Senior Care Blog Wayland and Weston

Help Seniors Stay Safe on Evening Walks

By Denise Roskamp

Many seniors enjoy evening walks in the summer months, because the cooler temperatures as the sun goes down makes it more pleasant to be outdoors. Whether they like to walk around the block or around the park, there are definite advantages to getting them outdoors and engaging in some exercise. However, there are some definite things that can go wrong on an evening walk with an elderly loved one. If family caregivers can provide their aging loved ones with some support and proper safety precautions, seniors will be able to enjoy their evening walks for as long as possible.

The first thing to do is for family caregivers to establish a route with their aging loved one, then check it out. There should be plenty of light along the way and a nice, smooth sidewalk with no broken areas. The route should also avoid crossing streets or else making sure the crossings are with streetlights or stop signs. Whenever they cross the street, they should try to make eye contact with the drivers to feel confident that they are seen. If there are any other obstacles on the elderly loved one’s desired route, it may require a change to be more safe.

Next, caregivers need to make sure their aging loved ones have the proper clothing to be taking an evening walk. Reflective gear, light colors and good, sturdy shoes are essential for elderly loved ones to avoid an auto-pedestrian accident. Wearing a head lamp or other battery-powered light is a good way to further make an aging pedestrian more visible to drivers. Because a senior’s eyesight and hearing can diminish with age, they should always be aware of what the traffic is doing as they go on their evening walk. Home care aides should be notified of the elderly person’s safety gear before getting htem ready for an outdoor evening excursion.

Another thing to do to help your elderly loved one stay safe on an evening walk is to review basic safety rules and common tips that can reduce the risk of problems. They should avoid busy roads and always cross at a crosswalk. Senior pedestrians ought to cross with other pedestrians if that is possible. Of course, aging loved ones should always be focused on what traffic is doing and should not be distracted by phones, dogs or the bags they carry.

Of course, the best way to keep aging loved ones safe while on an evening walk is to have someone accompany them. Whether it’s a family caregiver, other family member, home care assistant, friend or neighbor, walking with someone allows the elderly person the chance to enjoy the outdoors while having someone look out for them. A companion can help them navigate uncertain terrain and cross busy streets.

If evening walks are becoming too problematic for aging loved ones, then it’s time to restructure their end-of-day routines. Many seniors transition into doing light yardwork in the evening, such as watering outdoor plants, light weeding or other enjoyable activity. This way, they can still participate in some activity without risking their health and well-being on an evening walk.

Source: Safety