Community Blog

Keeping Your Parent Safe on Walks

By Erin Carll

Physical activity is important for seniors because it helps them reduce risks for falling, heart disease, high blood pressure, and fractures. Physical activity does not have to be strenuous to be effective, so walking is an excellent option for seniors since it is low impact. If your parent enjoys walking, but you worry about their safety on walks, there are some things you and your parent’s elder care provider can do to make walks safer for them.

Wear Good Shoes
The right shoes can help your parent maintain their balance and avoid falls. Shoes should fit well and have low heels. They should not cause blisters or pain. The soles of the shoes should be non-skid. You or your parent’s elder care provider should check the shoes often for wear and tear. If the soles of the shoes are worn, they should be replaced to prevent slipping.

Carry a Cell Phone
Your parent should always carry a cell phone with them when they go for walks. Teach your parent how to use the GPS feature on the phone in case they get lost. Having a phone also gives your parent a way to contact someone if there is an emergency. However, remind your parent not to be focusing on the phone while they are walking since it could cause them to trip.

Take a Water Bottle
Hydration is important since seniors are more prone to heat-related illness. Their bodies don’t adjust to heat as well as younger people’s bodies do. In addition, they may be taking medications that affect body temperature and the ability to sweat. Drinking water can help your parent to avoid heat stroke and keep them hydrated.

Carry Pepper Spray
Purchase pepper spray for your parent to carry on walks in case they should be attacked. Additionally, a spray for deterring animals might be wise. Sprays are a good way to stop an attacker without causing any permanent damage. Make sure your parent knows how to use the spray safely.

Put on Sunscreen
Your parent should always wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 when going for a walk. Sunscreen prevents sunburn and can also reduce the risk of skin cancer. If your parent has difficulty putting sunscreen on, an elder care provider can assist them to make sure they cover all exposed areas of skin.

Be Aware of the Weather
To avoid getting caught out in the rain, or worse yet a storm, your parent or their elder care provider should check the weather before they leave. Knowing the weather can also help ensure your parent is dressed appropriately for the temperature.

Walk with Someone
Walking with someone else is also a great way to help ensure your parent’s safety. Besides, walking with a friend is more fun! If your parent doesn’t have a walking partner in the neighborhood, their elder care provider could go for walks with them.


Sources
https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/olderad.htm
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/tc/preventing-falls-topic-overview#1
http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/sunscreens-explained

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elder care in Mars, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 201-0712.