Elderly and disabled people are taking over your country. The number of Kiwis aged 65+ is escalating. Disabilities increase with age. Almost 60% of seniors have a disability. That figure is bound to escalate too.
Here’s the good news: we seniors know that living active, independent, socially-engaged lives is the best thing we can do for ourselves, for the economy and for the environment. So that’s what we’re doing.
- 90% of Kiwis aged 65+ live independently in the community (only 10% live in rest homes or retirement villages).
- Walking is our favourite exercise. Its popularity increases with age.
- Seniors spend less time driving, and more time walking and using buses.
- Walking is free. It needs no premises, no equipment, no training, no supervision. As a cost-effective health measure, walking’s a winner.
Here’s the bad news: we can’t walk far if it’s not safe to cross the road.
- Between 2006 and 2015, almost 4 times as many pedestrians (348) as cyclists (90) were killed on our roads. 30% of them were aged 65+.
- Over the same period, 3207 seriously injured pedestrians spent 21,472 days in hospital. 8795 of those days were spent by pedestrians aged 65+.
- The NZ Transport Agency has a Cycle Safety Action Plan and invests more than $350 million in urban cycling infrastructure, but it has no Pedestrian Safety Action Plan and makes no dedicated investment in pedestrian infrastructure.
- Sport and recreation groups focus on organised pursuits. Active transport pundits focus on cycling. Groups for seniors focus on exercise classes. Researchers into ageing focus on indoor activities.
- But for the 90% of us who live active independent lives in the community, walking is our favourite exercise and we want to do more of it.
For a safe, healthy, sustainable future: prioritize pedestrian safety now
Article courtesy of VICTA. Vision Impaired Charitable Trust Aoteroa (NZ)