Let's make it safer for our seniors to walk

OLDER adults value the many benefits of walking.

Research shows walking is their most common form of physical activity, whether it be for leisure, pleasure or to get around. 

However, there are many obstacles to walking that result in them missing out on improved health, wellbeing, independence, personal mobility and friendships.

A Victoria Walks survey of 1128 seniors found that inadequate footpaths, dogs not leashed or under control, poor street lighting at night, irresponsible drivers and the behavior of some cyclists on shared paths are preventing thousands of seniors from enjoying the health and wellbeing benefits of walking and physical activity.

Traffic-related and fall injuries among older pedestrians also impact on their walking, yet we expect them to just fit in.This is not good enough. We need to stop telling seniors to take extra care while walking and create road environments that take care of them. 

We need more age friendly neighbourhoods throughout Victoria that are built for walking with better access to shops, services and public transport within 1km of housing.

Victoria Walks calls on all levels of government to work together and get serious about supporting seniors to stay active and healthy and connected to their communities. 

We urge them to follow the recommendations of the Senior Victorians and walking: obstacles and opportunities report (www.victoriawalks.org.au/seniors).

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