Meet Dave Allen

As a younger man in the army in England Dave Allen regularly ran 16kms. Now, as an 83-year-old in Melbourne's outer suburbs, getting around is more of a challenge! 

Walking, the most popular exercise, is especially important for older adults to stay healthy and connected with others in their community. It's vital our older neighbours and relatives feel safe and confident to walk. 

In this 2-minute video, Dave tells us about the things that can support or discourage him from reaching his daily 2km walking goal. Please watch the video and share!

What will help older adults stay healthy, active and connected?

As Dave explains, the provision and maintenance of quality footpaths is extremely important for older adults to remain active in their communities and connected to nature. 

For people aged 75 years and over, walking comprises 77 per cent of the total time spent on physical activity! 

However, trips and falls in the street send 5000 Victorians to hospital each year. More walkers are injured by falls than in crashes with people driving vehicles. The majority of fall-related hospital admissions involve older adults, with walkers aged 75-84 having a hospitalisation rate 9 times greater than those aged 35-64 years.

“The consequence of falling in the street can be devastating for elderly walkers” points out Victoria Walks Executive Officer Dr Ben Rossiter. “Falling and breaking a hip can be life changing and lead to premature death."

With 22 per cent of Victoria's population aged 60 years or older, Victoria Walks advocates to all levels of government to invest more funding in making streets and trails safer for all users by making them safer for walking.

Younger members of the Victorian community can also support older adults to stay active by ensuring local streets, trails and green spaces feel safe and accessible to everyone.

As explained in the above video, unexpected surprises can startle older walkers and cause them to fall or lose confidence using public space. Here are some typical experiences that cause older walkers concern and can deter them from walking:

  • People riding bikes or scooters on shared trail who pass very fast or close
    (Older adults may not hear your bell)

  • Off-lead dogs
    (In a survey of 1128 senior Victorians, 'Dogs that are off leash or not under control' was rated as the most important perceived barrier to walking!)  

  • Drivers who fail to give way at crossings or when turning 
    (Older adults are over-represented in crashes where walkers are injured or killed)

Further related reading on older adult walkers: