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How to Make Exterior Walkways and Sidewalks Senior-Safe

Apr 21 2020

Each year, millions of older adults are treated for accidents and injuries related to falls. The incidents can range from minor aches and bruises to more severe injuries, such as broken bones, head traumas and infections. Therefore, family caregivers and businesses need to develop plans to make navigating their properties easier, especially outdoor areas. Below are helpful tips that can make exterior walkways and sidewalks senior-safe.

Remove Clutter

Trying to walk around boxes, rocks, trash and other items could cause older adults to lose their balance. Keep in mind that muscle mass declines due to aging, affecting balance and flexibility; as a result, older adults struggling to avoid clutter on sidewalks or walkways, increases their risk of falling. To prevent this from happening, families need to clear all exterior walkways and speak with government agencies or housing associations about unencumbering sidewalks throughout the community. Businesses can hire staff to keep the exterior of their stores and buildings clutter-free and safe for everyone.

Adequate Lighting

Vision problems are common in older adults, making it difficult for them to walk in some areas, such as areas with limited lighting. Adding adequate lighting to these places could prevent someone from tripping. The brightness will make it easier for individuals to navigate uneven surfaces, cracks and dips; it could also prevent them from stepping on potentially dangerous objects and twisting their ankles. Speak with community officials about exterior walkway and sidewalk regulations, to ensure you stay within federal, state and local guidelines when adding lighting.

Level Sidewalks

When the ground is uneven, anyone can lose their balance and trip. Falling could increase the odds of severe head traumas, which is why families, businesses and organizations should do everything possible to keep walkways level. A construction material supplier can give your family or business advice on using concrete lifting and repair, as well as the best asphalt to use for driveways, curbs and other applications. This can reduce the risk of falls for everyone, especially older adults.

Use Signage Indicating Bad Weather Conditions

Rain, snow, ice and other weather conditions could make exterior walkways and sidewalks slippery, raising the odds of falls. To keep the areas safe, add caution signs outside your business or along the path, indicating that the surfaces are wet or icy. Seeing the signs could prevent older adults from walking into your store without using extreme caution.

When it comes to keeping exterior walkways and sidewalks safe, families and businesses need to monitor these areas regularly and make necessary changes, such as those mentioned above.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan