Have you seen seniors trying to cross a busy street where there are no traffic lights?
Many think they can walk faster than the speeding car headed their way. Not so…..
Becoming allies in promoting safety for seniors can encompass a broad range of topics from elder abuse to fraud prevention to pedestrian safety. Pedestrian safety has been at the forefront as of late due to the large number of pedestrians injured or killed as a result of collisions this year in Toronto. In fact, Toronto Police Services blogger Ron Fanfair writes that: “Of the 34 pedestrian fatalities recorded in Toronto so far, a total of 22 have been seniors 65 years and older.”
Constable Jason Peddle, who used to be a family support worker with the Alzheimer Society of Canada before becoming a police officer is the new Vulnerable Persons coordinator with the Divisional Policing Support Unit. PC Peddle enlisted Joanne Banfield, the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre trauma injury prevention manager, to create a program to raise awareness with seniors of physical and cognitive changes that might increase their vulnerability as pedestrians. It also helps make service providers such as Toronto Police aware of these vulnerabilities from a prevention standpoint.
Some of these iNavigait safety tips include:
- Plan your outings
- Be visible to drivers and wear bright reflective items
- Wear proper and well-maintained footwear
- Cross at intersections with traffic signals, marked crosswalks or stop signs
- Be light as possible. Avoid carrying things than can weigh you down or affect your balance while walking
All of us working with seniors know that independence is highly valued. Consequently, all service providers working with seniors have a role to play in encouraging their independence as much as possible, part of which includes promoting their safety, including their safety as pedestrians.