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Old 11-04-2018, 11:36 AM
Location: Middle Tennessee
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I guess I'm really lucky with where we live. I walk about a mile and a half every other day. I leave my house, loop around our subdivision and then down the road that runs by it for a bit. No traffic to speak of on our area and there is a sidewalk on the road outside of it. Never have run into an unleashed dog and people who I might pass walking their dogs are always considerate. As far as being mugged, that is way down on my list of things to be concerned abut. I do carry my cellphone with me in case a hard rain catches me by surprise and I need to call my wife to come pick me up. Hasn't happened yet, but you never know.
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Old 11-04-2018, 11:46 AM
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I feel safe walking in my town, but not so much out on the foothill trails anymore. It's not about getting older per se, it's about getting wiser. I am more aware now of what can happen, no matter what your age.

I never used to pay much attention to the news stories, and it never crossed my mind that something like that could happen to me. Now I think about how lucky I've been even when engaging in risky behavior, and I wonder when it's gonna catch up to me and be my turn.
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:15 PM
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I always carry bear spray when walking out here in this rural area. My husband practices using his cane as a defensive weapon.
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Old 11-04-2018, 01:55 PM
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I've spent a lifetime wandering in the woods, by the rivers and on the prairie. I sometimes pick berries or mushrooms. My major concern is how that space is dwindling. Often now someone eventually shows up to say I am infringing on their private space!

They must sit in their homes somewhere looking through a spyglass just waiting for some little old lady to come wandering by. LOL

In answer to the question, yes, I am more cautious now than I used to be. Not because I'm less strong. I've never been inclined to solve my problems with physical strength. But because there are so many more reports of people being assaulted here than there used to be.

I've had training over the years on what to watch for and problem solving with dangerous situations through my work so I tend to be aware. It's something everyone should practice. And I have very little confidence that I have the perfect intellectual or verbal protection to save myself should I encounter a maniac. Every difficulty is faced as it presents itself, situational.

I no longer stroll at night unless I have companionship.

And, of course, there are plenty of things to remember about the dangers of the natural world as well. My next door neighbor's elderly mother "went for a stroll" by the river on their family farm, slipped on the muddy bank and ended up in the river, unable to pull herself out of the mud. I'm not there yet, though.

Next decade? Wearing a necklace that tells my name and address with a request to please return me home.

I like to think that my focus is less on fear and more on awareness, prevention and self-preservation.
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Old 11-04-2018, 02:19 PM
Location: Idaho
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Good idea about toting along a "walking stick". I'll have to think on that. The day I'm afraid to walk about might as well be the day I start pushing up daisies. Never have had any problems with dogs or their owners. It is wise to ask permission to pet their dog before stooping down to do so. Dogs seem to be able to tell if you're a "dog person" or not.

In the hills/mountains around here, I carry bear spray and strap on a sidearm. This is grizzly country, but I have yet to encounter one, or even a black bear which are also in the area. The bear spray is the first course of defense, the pea shooter is a last resort. If you're not stealth and make plenty of noise, the bears will leave you alone. Just don't come between a mamma and her babies.

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Old 11-04-2018, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ansible90 View Post
You could wear some kind of reflective vest so you show up better.

I do my walking between 10 am and 2 pm in clear sunlight. The last Uber driver who barely missed me had the privilege of meeting a Tucson police officer greet him and present him with the gift of a "failure to yield" ticket.
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Old 11-04-2018, 03:12 PM
Location: on the wind
7,255 posts, read 2,997,514 times
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Originally Posted by highplainsrus View Post
These and other health-related concerns could be the reason why it is easy for the elderly to become almost agoraphobic shut-ins. I am interested to see if others have considered these issues and found solutions.
Well, I firmly believe knowledge is power. If you don't do the learning you'll have no power. When you think about hazards many of them have nothing to do with anyone's age. What you might decide to do to address risk could well change over time.

I also think there are two parts to this. First part is physical-logistical solutions to physical hazards. Pick a potential hazard: there are probably lots of things you can do to lessen risk, but you have to do the research and be willing to alter some things about yourself. If you decide you won't walk outdoors at all when it's icy because you won't wear ice cleats on your shoes well, that's on you, not the ice.

The second part is mental/emotional. Only you can keep yourself from becoming an agoraphobic shut-in. If you let your fears overwhelm you you'll never carry out part 1. That has nothing to do with age either.

Last edited by Parnassia; 11-04-2018 at 04:35 PM..
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Old 11-04-2018, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by highplainsrus View Post
Do you feel safe taking walks outside? Whether hiking, strolling through a park, or walking city streets, are you aware of the various possible dangers? Do you think about muggings, dangerous dogs, bad weather, accidental falls, or busy traffic?

As I approach my seventies, I think about these things more and more. I am trying to reason my way through them to sort out the most likely problems from the irrational concerns and setting up conditions to create safe activities in safe surroundings.

Example: I used to enjoy walking park trails in good weather to observe beautiful trees, flowers and other views in the fresh air. Lately, I have encountered many off-leash dogs and potentially hostile dog owners. I realize there are few safe ways to handle those events, since dogs and their owners have virtually the run of the outdoors with few real restraints. Now I feel forced into the stale surroundings of indoor mall walking or expensive indoor gyms and treadmills.

These and other health-related concerns could be the reason why it is easy for the elderly to become almost agoraphobic shut-ins. I am interested to see if others have considered these issues and found solutions.

I use hiking sticks ,one of them is a Zap Hike'N Strike Stun for safety. The sticks help maintain balance on trails and the zap taser stick helps to keep dogs away (just hearing the crackle scares them off). If not on hiking trail but regular park trail or sidewalks then I just take my taser walking stick.

For more rural areas and forest trails I would carrry bear spray as well as my walking sticks.

There is just no way I want to let fears take away the joy of being outdoors.
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Old 11-04-2018, 06:00 PM
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"...considered these issues and found solutions."

here are mine:
1. walking stick/cane/staff. currently, i use an old "headless" golf club with a crutch tip where the head used to be.
2. cell phone. my wife made me carry it all the time. better/cheaper than the "Life-Line" services. i call it her "leash".
3. whistle. little thing with a big noise. thankfully, i have never used it. tested it once. in the house. last time.
4. pepper spray and/or pistol. i have a concealed carry permit. i carry pepper spray where guns are not allowed.
5. flashlight. the phone light is nowhere near bright enough. i have actually used this to discourage an approach
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Old 11-04-2018, 06:11 PM
Location: high plains
496 posts, read 705,658 times
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One other idea is that of getting my own monster brute dog to protect me on walks. Maybe that's one reason so many people have them - as a self defense weapon, in addition to companionship. I don't want the hassle of taking care of it nor the additional expenses of pet deposits and vet bills or time spent training or inevitable barking complaints. There is also the risk of the dog wrestling the leash out of my aged hand and attacking without my command. Dog owners seem to ignore those downsides, though.
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