Obstacles prevent seniors from walking: report

The Commissioner for Senior Victorians will today launch a report which shows inadequate footpaths, poor street lighting at night and irresponsible drivers are preventing thousands of seniors from getting exercise.

Commissioner for Senior Victorians Gerard Mansour launched the report today.
Commissioner for Senior Victorians Gerard Mansour launched the report today.

Victoria’s inadequate footpaths, poor street lighting at night and irresponsible drivers are preventing thousands of seniors in Victoria from getting the exercise vital to their health and wellbeing, according to a new report.

Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians, will today launch Senior Victorians and walking: obstacles and opportunities at VicHealth. The research, which included a survey of 1,128 seniors from across Victoria, focus groups and an international literature review, was conducted by Dr Jan Garrard for Victoria Walks and the Council on the Ageing.

The report found that 58 per cent of senior Victorians do not get the recommended level of physical activity. The survey revealed the key barriers to seniors walking included dogs being off leash or not under control (50 per cent of respondents); poorly maintained footpaths (47 per cent); poorly lit footpaths (42 per cent); drivers failing to give way when required (39 per cent); cyclists on shared walking and cycling paths (39 per cent).

“Traffic-related and fall injuries among older pedestrians impact on their walking, yet we expect them to just fit in” said Victoria Walks executive officer Ben Rossiter. “We need to stop telling seniors to take extra care while walking and create road environments that take care of them.”

Mr Mansour said the Victoria Walks report will make an important contribution to the development of a whole-of-government action plan, commissioned by the Victorian Government for supporting better participation among senior Victorians.

“Improving walkability and transport options is a key focus for the new Ministerial Advisory Committee for Senior Victorians. The committee is busy working on a new action plan that will detail strategies to promote an age-friendly society, enhance community participation of older people and coordinate plans across government,” said Mr Mansour.

Dr Rossiter said lack of ‘walkable’ streets meant seniors were missing out on improved health, wellbeing, independence, personal mobility and friendships.

Tags: cota, gerard-mansour, victoria walks,

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