237518 Year round independence and mobility: Building toward a social norm of sidewalk snow clearance, a critical element of a healthy aging environment

Monday, October 31, 2011: 9:06 AM

Wendy Landman, SB, MCP , WalkBoston, Boston, MA
Many seniors depend on walking to run errands, visit with friends and family, exercise, and maintain their social and economic networks. Sidewalk snow clearance is a critical component of mobility, and safe year-round walking conditions are a basic need for a healthy aging community. Snowy sidewalks were identified as one of the most serious injury concerns of elders during focus groups conducted across the Massachusetts by the Department of Public Health.

Working with varied community partners in socially and economically diverse neighborhoods, WalkBoston has developed and used a set of tools to improve sidewalk snow clearance and create a sense of shared community responsibility. Among the methods that will be presented are: - Building a coalition around the issue that embraces seniors and senior service providers, the human rights community, neighborhood groups and business associations - Social marketing materials that inform and educate residents and businesses about the importance of snow clearance - Print and online media coverage that focus on the impact of un-shoveled sidewalks on seniors and disabled residents - Municipal attention to the issue regarding regulations, enforcement, and operations - Creation of neighbor-to-neighbor programs to recruit shoveling help - Providing information services for referrals for paid shoveling services - Workshops to inform and train local partners and advocates - Policy approaches to begin addressing access to transit, shared responsibility among state and municipal agencies, legal implications for property owners and public agencies.

The effectiveness, ease of implementation, cost and sustainability of the tools will reviewed and discussed.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to design and implement a program that engages the public and the elder service community in efforts to improve sidewalk snow clearance, and that provides participants with the information needed to explain the importance of that effort to the independence and self confidence of older members of the community.

Keywords: Community Involvement, Quality of Life

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee all of the program activities related to improving sidewalk snow clearance with respect to public policy, community interventions and social marketing.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.