Walking Program for Loved Ones

Steps to Social Success: Connecting parents to their Community through Walking

Walking is the perfect older adult-friendly exercise  – it’s low-impact, easy to start/maintain, and can be scaled to meet your loved one’s unique needs. Studies have long-since shown that walking has many physical health benefits for loved ones, helping them live longer, healthier lives.  Newer research also suggests that walking also has many psychological health benefits for loved ones.  By keeping them both physically and socially active in their communities, walking can  help curb feelings of depression and isolation that often plague older adults, giving them a better sense of social connectedness

Walk about it

and talk about it

Like any exercise, this activity is not without risk.  Older adults walking in their community are subject to the same fall risks and physical dangers of exercising at home with the addition of several new environmental hazards like weather and traffic.  Despite these dangers, walking is a worthwhile exercise and can be safely managed with just a little planning. 

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Grandson piggyback with his grandfather in autumn.

be proactive

when considering safety

As the leading cause of fatal injury in older adults, falls are a major health concern for loved ones. 

For many caregivers, the thought of their loved one tripping and falling in an unfamiliar place where help may not be readily available is their worst nightmare.  Despite the dangers of falling, there are many simple safeguards you can put in place to help your loved one walk safely in their community.

  • Invest in a pair of sturdy, comfortable non-slip shoes for your loved one to wear while walking.
  • Take a walk with your loved one to map out a path that is paved and level. This can help ensure your loved one isn’t tripping over curbs or falling on uneven pavement.
  • Talk with neighbors in the community about your loved one’s walking routine to see if they’d be willing to serve as checkpoints for them if they needed assistance. This can engage your loved one in their community and ensure they have someone to turn to if they need help.
  • Consider purchasing a medical alert device for your loved one to wear on their walks. If your loved one does fall on their walk, they can call for help with the press of a button.

keep an eye out

look both ways!

Traffic can be another hazard for older adults in the community.  Loved ones with visual or hearing impairments may be at a higher risk of being involved in traffic-related accidents.  You can prepare your loved one to face these dangers with a few easy changes to a standard walking routine.

  • Help connect your loved one to a walking group in their area so they always have one or more buddies to exercise with. As an added perk, this can even help your loved one feel more connected to their community!
  • Ensure your loved one has access to the appropriate assistive technology. If your loved one suffers from hearing loss, consider investing in an amplifier or hearing aid to help them listen for oncoming traffic.  If your loved one has visual impairments, make sure they have glasses (and sunglasses) for their walks to see any hazardous conditions in advance!
  • Try to chart out a safer path for your loved one. Help your loved one identify paths they can take in their community that minimize the need for them to cross the street.  If crossing the street is necessary, make sure your loved one is crossing at red lights with clear walk signs. 
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portrait of happy smiling senior couple outdoors

rain or shine

stay active, with precautions

Many older adults may be walking in less than ideal conditions as the seasons change.  Rain, snow, and sun can all pose unique dangers to your  loved one.  Make sure they are prepared for the elements before they go for a walk.

  • Make sure your loved one has a pair of sunglasses they can wear while walking. This can reduce glare and help them see better outside when it is too bright out. 
  • If your loved one likes to walk at night, consider clipping a flashlight on to their keys to help them light up their path. Check to make sure the path they are taking is well-lit by street lamps.
  • Keep sunscreen and bug spray by the door to remind your loved one to apply these before stepping outside.
  • Don’t let rainy weather stop your loved one from walking. Help your loved one identify places they can walk indoors whenever skies are grey.  Malls and museums are popular indoor walking venues that can provide older adults with social stimulation.

stick to it

no matter what!

One of the biggest barriers to walking can be motivating your loved one to leave the comfort of their favorite chair.  New exercise plans can be difficult to start up, but the right preparation can help set your loved one up for success.

  • Walk and talk with your loved one to keep them engaged.
  • Work with your loved one to identify a variety of paths they could take while walking to keep them interested and committed to walking.
  • Try incentivizing walking with smart technology; use a pedometer to count your loved one’s steps and help them track their progress. Set a weekly goal with them and, if they reach it, treat them to an activity of their choice.
  • Stuck on starting? Consider using a pre-designed Beginner Walking Plan to alleviate the stress of having to come up with something from scratch.
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Social Walking for Older Adults-We Can Help

At Beverly’s Daughter, we understand that there are risks and challenges associated with starting a silver walking regimen.  If you’re struggling to take your first steps or would like to help improve your loved one’s walking routine, reach out to us for guidance.  Our highly-trained staff will be in touch within 48 hours with a unique plan tailored to your loved one’s needs.  Take the first step towards helping your loved one live a longer, happier, healthier life by contacting us today.

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