Situational awareness, or simply being aware of your surroundings, is important for all people, but especially critical for seniors who are vulnerable in many ways. When your mom goes for a walk or to the store, does she always check her surroundings? Here are four tips to make sure she’s staying safe and paying attention.
Be Alert When Walking Around
Does your mom tend to look down at the road or sidewalk when she’s walking? How about around her house? She needs to look up, keep monitoring her surroundings, and have a plan of action if she runs into an obstacle or stranger.
If she sees a hole in the sidewalk, she’ll have time to react and move out of its path. If she sees a person she doesn’t know, she’s alert and not going to be easily surprised by them. In the house, she’ll be able to spot a cat or dog lying in a hallway or a loose patio tile that could trip her.
Monitor Body Language
When your mom does encounter a stranger in a parking lot, in a store, or when taking a walk, make sure she knows how to judge body language. Have her look at the stranger and judge what they are doing. Are they approaching or keeping their distance. Are they just out for a walk or in need of help?
If she feels that the stranger could be threatening, she can cross the road and see what happens. A cell phone is helpful in calling for help if it comes to that.
Keep Doors Locked Until Leaving and as Soon as Entering the Car
When your mom parks or gets into her car, does she automatically unlock or lock the doors? Many cars unlock doors as soon as the car is put into park. Many drivers get into the seat and then organize before starting the car. In both situations, unlocked doors could be opened by someone outside. Teach your mom to lock doors until she’s exiting and as soon as she enters her car.
Avoid Dark Areas
If your mom is shopping or walking the dog at night, make sure she knows to stay where it’s well lit. If it’s dark on the street, she should stick to walking around the yard and turn on floodlights to make sure she can see where she’s walking. In a parking lot, she needs to park near a street lamp and as close to the store as possible.
In addition to practicing safety tips when out and about, you should consider your mom’s safety at home. Hire a senior care professional to help her with challenging daily activities. Have a caregiver available to join her for walks, take her shopping, and offer her companionship. Call a senior care agency to learn more.