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How Does your Neighborhood Rank for Mobility Safety?

  • By lemaster
  • 27 Oct, 2016

Infrastructure may have an impact on mobility even if you are adept at gettin’ around.

Your ability to navigate the city has as much to do with its infrastructure as does your skill at traversing it. That in combination with the level of public accessibility can have a major impact on your quality of life. There is a lot involved in planning a city properly for people of all backgrounds and circumstances to be able to access it easily.

What is the primary way with which you get around? Car? Bus? By foot? The ease and safety of how you get from point A to point B and back has a psychological effect on your being; as you age those options become more limited depending on your circumstance. Maintaining the Activities of Daily Living may include a certain level of mobility for you to feel engaged and enriched. Whether it means being social at your weekly gatherings at the country club or just getting good fresh ingredients for the evening’s dinner.

What is your preferred mode of transportation?

Walking can be one of the best exercises for seniors but one of the most fatal too, twice as dangerous than for the average adult and 6 times more dangerous than for a sixteen year old . It is estimated that 676,000 pedestrians were injured and 47,025 people were killed while walking during a 10 year period (2003-2012) according to the 2014 Dangerous by Design report.

Houston (#7) tops the top ten worst cities for pedestrians where over a thousand people died from pedestrian traffic related accidents in said ten year period. Want to see how your neighborhood fares for safety? Plug in your address into this interactive map and see all of the accidents in your area for the last decade.

         Wear highly visible clothing, either light colored or even a highly reflective vest like the ones worn by road construction crews or utility workers. Take a cane/seat combo with you if you need a rest or if accessibility isn’t ‘ up to snuff’ . Remember to wear comfortable shoes!  

Driving a car as traffic does (mimic strategy) is one of the safest ways to get around. The problem is, what if “traffic” isn’t driving at the pace you want to go or worse breaking the law. Add to that road infrastructure that doesn’t exactly imbibe one with a sense of peace and calm. Houston is in the bottom ranking of Allstate 2014 America’s Best Drivers Report of 200 cities making driving in the oil city not exactly a desirable option. If you are not in top form it is probably best to leave the driving to others.

If you are going to drive keep up with your doctor’s visits and eye appointments and avoid driving in adverse conditions if at all possible. Keep up with your vehicles preventive maintenance including: oil changes, tire pressure/wear, battery, fluids, windshield wipers, and brake pads.  

Bicycling is a wonderful activity, by far my personal favorite, it is low impact, you can get around cheaply, get exercise, and enjoy the weather (if the weather is nice). If the driving isn’t safe in your area then most likely the cycling isn’t going to be either. For argument sake let us say you are a die-hard cyclist like myself and go over some things you should take into consideration. For one your should always wear protective clothing and gear, most importantly a helmet, yes I know they aren’t stylish and they mess up the hair but wouldn’t you rather have messed up hair than a messed up head?!

         Your bike? Get something that is dependable, safe, and appropriate to your road conditions. Take the time to go to a bike shop and have the bike you are considering buying fitted to your dimensions, it makes a world of difference in comfortability for those long trips. Remember to keep it well maintained: gears cleaned and oiled, brakes in good working order, tires well tread and properly inflated. Don’t forget to take water too!

Public Transportation is a wonderful way to be resourceful , frugal, and have a no maintenance/repairs/insurance transportation option. Whether it is bus, train, or taxi you can travel just about anywhere in a city with a good public transit infrastructure. According to one report by the World Health Organization some requirements of public transit should be: affordable, reliable, easily navigable destinations, well maintained, marked, accessible, safe, comfortable, and experienced/trained/well informed drivers. How does your public transit system rate?

Special Accommodations (paratransit) are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and options for transit are widely provided by many cities. Available to individuals, for whatever reason, who need transportation door to door service that is not otherwise provided by normal public transit. In many cases you have to be qualified for this type of service by having a doctor verify that you meet certain requirements. You may even be required to give an interview by transit authorities to access your needs and verify your claim.

Follow these tips to prepare for an outing and when in public:

Phone, keys, wallet/purse, and water .

Keep your valuables out of sight and your money in multiple locations, if a robber mugs you he’ll take your $50 in your pocket but not the $50 in your sock. If you need that $50 in your sock, don’t take it out in public, go to the restroom and use a private stall, you never know who is watching.

Do some targeted mobility exercises to increase your balance and strength, hazards are everywhere out there and while you may be cautious others may not. Be sure to check with your Doctor and Personal Trainer on which are best to strengthen the legs and core.  The Journal of the American Medical Association in a 2013 publication found that, “ Strong evidence supports resistance and balance exercises for improving mobility-limiting physical weakness and balance disorders .”

Plan your trips out at non-peak times so as not to be overwhelmed by all of the traffic and people. Anything to make your errands or social time no stress will encourage you to go out more. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets standards for accessibility in public places, check wheelmap.org for locations that are easily accessible to make your trip that much easier.

Read more about how modern technology is changing the way we are mobile, making it easier for all of us to get around>>

Dress appropriately . Check the weather and dress accordingly and if at all possible don’t go out in extreme weather conditions. Remember comfortable shoes, light colored/reflective clothing, a hat, jacket/coat (if need be), and sunscreen.

Tell someone you are going out , where you are going, and when you should be back. That way if for some reason things go bad they know where to look for you or where to direct the authorities. If you are able to wrangle a niece, son, or other younger relative to go with you, by all means.

Pertinent Information .Remember to keep an emergency contact and medical information card with you at all times; here is an example card to click on, fill in, print out, and laminate:

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

There is no place like home when settled and in a routine, everything in it’s right place and well established in the community. After years in one town, you have done everything that can be done in and around your house and in the community and yet you still have a yearning. Perhaps your group of friends, for whatever reason, aren’t around anymore. It is never too late to embark on one last journey after all the rest of the family is off doing their thing….why not you?

Don’t let a loss keep you from keepin’ on, carry their best traits on to another friend, read,   Befriend Anew: Being Social after a Friend has Fallen ”————->>>>>

It seems like things changed overnight in your neighborhood when you moved into your house you lived in the country, now suddenly the area developed and you practically live in the city. Maybe you live in the city and it just isn’t the laid back place you moved into originally. All of the events you use to go to are no more and all of the new events are geared toward a younger age group. You don’t even feel safe taking that morning walk anymore.

Take a good look at your community and read,  

How Does your Neighborhood Rank for Mobility Safety? ”———>>>

This scenario is more and more common and you are not alone, change is the constant in a developing world. Well there are many options available to offer you that which you have been longing for: private duty, age restricted (adult) communities, assisted living communities, continuing care retirement communities, and of course nursing homes. Depending on your health care needs there is just about any accommodation that you might desire. Some 1.6 million Americans live in Nursing homes or Assisted Living facilities.

Naturally there are pros and cons to any situation and you may not have a choice if you are dealing with a diagnosis that severely restricts your mobility. That exception aside, let us assume a variety of options within a scale of Independence.

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016
I remember when I was young watching a documentary about chimpanzees by Dr Jane Goodall where a young chimp died from grief. It was depressing and it made me wonder if there was a link between depression and grief, when one member of a couple passes the other soon follows. For a long time mental illness was hard to describe, diagnose, let alone cure. How does one treat something that is so intangible and unpredictable?
By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016
When you are coming of age and your grandfather passes away its almost expected. As you get older and you become the elder something they don’t tell you is that your friends unexpectedly start to pass. The pain and grieving may take a toll on you and the idea of picking up again and putting yourself out there seem just unbearable.
By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

here are many factors involved in maximizing your mobility and ensuring your environment is accessible. Sometimes all that is needed is to clean up some clutter around the house or adding more lighting to a hallway. There are hundreds of solutions and funding options available to you to make your environment safe and easy to use.

Not sure where to start? Check out NAHB ’s site to get some ideas or reach out to a healthcare or building professional; If they can’t help you they will be able to direct you to someone who can. Be sure to vet contractors and interview them with someone you trust to be there as your advocate.

  Here are 7 simple tips on keeping your environment safe:

  • Check Walkways. Paths, stairs, doorways, ramps, entryways, and steps. The integrity of the surfaces may be compromised by cracks, water rot, holes, standing water, or even motor or cooking oil spills. Check daily and keep them clear and clean of spills, ropes, hoses, tacks, toys, broken glass, nails, plant overgrowth, or other obstacles that could trip you up.
  • Slippery & Uneven .Add anti-slip tape to steps, inclines, and ramps to give added traction and safety. There are even textured paint products  to apply to walking surfaces to make them non-skid if you appreciate a more finished look. Check with a local, licensed, and insured contractor for help with building and keeping ramps and stairs well maintained.
By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

It may not seem necessary to practice balance building exercises when you are younger and have no reason to worry. Don’t let that lack of foresight end up with hindsight reflections years later in the hospital. Let prevention be your new mantra. The danger of a potentially fatal fall is real and action should be taken into consideration. Why? Injuries from a fall is one of the leading causes of fatality for older Americans. Still not convinced? How about saying goodbye to your life savings?! Medical costs related to falls is in the hundreds of millions and by one estimate 1.2 billion dollars .

Aside from the average person being inactive there are a number of balance disorders that could be causing a loss of ability. Such conditions as positional vertigo, Labyrinthitis, Ménière’s disease, Vestibular neuronitis, Perilymph fistula, and Mal de Debarquement syndrome. Treatments can range from a simple exercise to very complex therapies administered by a professional.

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

Technology has become such an integral part of our lives, making tasks easier and for some, making what most of us take for granted like walking, a reality. In an ideal world we wouldn’t need help and when we did family, friends, and doctors would be there to help. Sometimes that support network isn’t always available to be there for us in the ways with which we need.

There are any number of complications that could arise to limit your mobility and diminish your quality of life. A simple accident such as a fall can be devastating for the older populations; with long recovery times and the potential atrophy of muscles, incontinence, and the like.

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

Your ability to navigate the city has as much to do with its infrastructure as does your skill at traversing it. That in combination with the level of public accessibility can have a major impact on your quality of life. There is a lot involved in planning a city properly for people of all backgrounds and circumstances to be able to access it easily.

What is the primary way with which you get around? Car? Bus? By foot? The ease and safety of how you get from point A to point B and back has a psychological effect on your being; as you age those options become more limited depending on your circumstance. Maintaining the Activities of Daily Living may include a certain level of mobility for you to feel engaged and enriched. Whether it means being social at your weekly gatherings at the country club or just getting good fresh ingredients for the evening’s dinner.

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

Generally I do not begin a blog with a disclaimer but we want you to take this advice with serious consideration and great caution. You can be injured, fatally so, if you do not follow the advice of a professional who knows the specific state and ability of your body. The following is provided for information purposes only, following these techniques does not imply proper form or ability. You have unique physical and mental needs that should be addressed by your doctor and personal trainer before starting any exercise regimen.

So you have made a resolution to start following a solid exercise plan this year (or the doctor has mandated it) and you’re determined to stay on track. The doctor has been telling you for years to exercise and there is ample research to back up the benefits of exercise for seniors . Sometimes the hardest part is having the discipline to stick with it or even knowing what exercise to do in the first place. There is a lot of information out there and everyone has some advice to give (or a plan/membership to sell) not to mention the rules are different for older adults . The CDC recommends at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise per week, that is a little over 20 minutes a day. So let’s get going!

By lemaster 27 Oct, 2016

There are a lot of options available to you if the Activities of Daily Living become a little more challenging than they use to be. It may be more difficult to get your Dad to admit that he isn’t as capable as he use to be than it would be to install a couple of grab bars. Understandably we all want to maintain our independence, after all, we spend the first eighteen years of our life trying to be an adult (at least most of us TRY to).

If you have looked into moving into a long term care facility (nursing home) and it is not an option for you, then it may be time to make some modifications to your house so that it is more accessible for your changing needs. If you have a second floor or the bathroom is a bit too small or maybe the cabinets are too high for you to reach anymore, look into some remodeling. You or your loved one may be on the verge of being considered disabled if not currently diagnosed with a condition that warrants a change. It is important thing to consider because accidents and falls are one of the leading causes of decline and death in the elderly.

The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) maintains a long list of suggested renovation projects that might make life a little easier. Whatever your changing needs may be there is a solution that any good Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) contractor can help with. Lets take a look at your options from DIY to hiring a professional and the costs associated with some of the most common accessibility renovations.

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