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Why walking places can be a risky proposition for senior citizens

It has been well-documented that the Coachella Valley area has an extremely high rate of pedestrian deaths. In fact, the rate is four times the national average. It has been attributed to causes such as high speed limits and a large proportion of pedestrians. Interestingly, pedestrian age is also a factor.

Here is a look at why being a pedestrian as you get older can be dangerous. For some safety tips, check out this blog post.

Driving less, walking more

Many senior citizens hang up their car keys and go walking. However, some of the reasons that caused them to reduce or stop driving come into play when walking. For example, their hearing may not be as keen, or they may have limited range of motion, as well as reaction time.

Unfortunately, because of all of the attention on whether driving is safe for senior citizens, there has been less of a focus on how to make walking safer for this group. Quite a few seniors go for their walks with a false sense of security, being unaware of how they could be at risk and how to minimize these risks. 

Bottom line: When you understand any areas of weakness when you walk, you are in a much better position to eliminate these risks. One way is by changing your route. It could mean a slightly longer walk but with a third less vehicle traffic. Or it could mean reserving the more traffic-intensive walks for off-peak hours or when you have a friend with you.

Conflicts with medication

The medication you are taking that helps with your diabetes or heart condition could be hurting you in a way you never thought about. Just as alcohol does, medication has the potential to interfere with your awareness and reaction times. If you are on medication and walk a lot, ask your doctor to explain how your medication might affect your ability to perceive things over the life cycle of a dosage.

 

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