Toni’s Tips: Senior Pedestrian Safety

By Toni Lynn Davis MHA, CNHA, FACHCA

As the weather cools it’s the perfect time to get outside for a walk. Walking is a healthy form of exercise for senior citizens, and the beautiful fall weather, and colors are good for the spirit as well as the body.

“Older pedestrians in New Jersey are more likely to be killed by automobiles than their counterparts in other states, according to an analysis of the nearly 47,000 pedestrians killed nationwide from 2003 through 2012.The analysis also found that pedestrians 60 and older in New Jersey, like those for the nation overall, are far more likely to be killed than younger people,” wrote Steve Strunsky in The Star Ledger on August 17th, 2014. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2014/08/among_pedestrians_analysis_finds_nj_seniors_are_vulnerable.html

I wrote on this topic in July of 2013 and the issue of senior pedestrian safety has only gotten more problematic. While we wait for recommendations and solutions from the department of transportation seniors can take precautions to minimize risk and follow some simple tips.

• Get to know your route and plan it out well. Look for low curbs, well-lit areas, and good traffic and walk signals.

• Wear flat sturdy slip on or tied shoes. No open toed sandals or backless slides.

• If you need a cane or walker use it.

• Wear sunglasses and/or prescription glasses if required.

• Wear your hearing aides.

• Walk with a friend. There is added safety and presence in numbers.

• Always cross at the cross walk and with the light. Never rush to get through a light.
Look both ways when stepping off the curb regardless of which direction traffic is flowing.

Remember pedestrians have the right of way. While most people will allow you the time you need to get across the street many more drivers are paying little attention, so look carefully to assess whether or not you have the time to cross the street safely.

Utilize people around you and ask for someone to walk with you as you cross the roadway.

• Never walk on a roadside that has no sidewalk.

• Women put your pocket book over your shoulder to free your hands.

• Limit the number and weight of parcels you carry.

• Do not walk at night.

It is important for our senior citizens to walk and walk safely.