Walking’s benefits are endless!
To name a few, walking improves physical functioning, releases tension, can be social, and it’s definitely sensory.
Here are some considerations when planning a walk with your older family member or friend:
- Check with a doctor before planning any walking program to make sure it is okay and safe to do with your friend or family member.
- Make sure everyone has proper shoes, and if you go outdoors for a walk have outerwear appropriate for the weather.
- Consider wearing sunscreen on exposed skin.
- Consider the weather when planning a walk. Don’t head outdoors if there are hazards such as ice, snow, or wet paths.
- How far will you walk? Think ahead how far your loved one can go because walking back can get tiring.
- Make sure walkers, canes, or other assistive devices your loved one may use are in good working order before starting out for a walk.
- If your friend or family member is in a wheelchair getting out and going for a stroll can be beneficial. Seek out places that have wide, level paths that a wheelchair can go.
Now that you’re ready to go here are some things to discover to make it more than a walk:
- Malls, stores, parks, neighborhoods, or indoor hallways in buildings are all great places to take walks. In all these places discover the world around you. Notice trees, plants, sky, weather, and activities that are happening outdoors. Indoors notice wall hangings, pictures, people, products, etc…
- Stop to talk to neighbors. Seeing someone while out on a walk gives your loved one a chance to catch up.
- If your walk is outdoors, take in the sights, sounds, and smells around you. Touch and smell some flowers, taste a strawberry, listen and look for birds, and look for other signs of wildlife. Point out things that you or your loved one might not otherwise notice.
- Bring along the family or children. Children will help you discover many things. Just note that an older person might be nervous or afraid to fall when walking around an active child. A child can help push a wheelchair, hold a hand, and provide lots of entertainment.