The man on the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.
In my never-ending quest to learn something new everyday, I took a class today called “Preventing Falls.” You may ask, how do you prevent a fall while you’re falling? You can’t, silly, but you can get yourself and your surroundings in better shape so you don’t fall in the first place.
About a third of all adults over 65 have a fall each year. Conversely, two-thirds don’t have falls, and I hope to “fall” into that category. Risk factors for a fall include being over 65, had a fall in the past year, poor vision or hearing, brittle bones, and being unsteady on your feet. There are definite precautions you can take at home to prevent falling, such as:
Bathroom: install grab bars in bathtub, add nonskid floor mats and nonskid shower seat in the bathroom
Living room: be sure to secure wall-to-wall carpeting, add nonskid area or throw rug, have furniture with good back support
Bedroom: add nightlights, stand up from bed slowly, sit on a sturdy chair to put on clothes and shoes
Kitchen: store items within easy reach, use a long-handled grasping device, use a cart to move items
Telephone: you don’t have to answer on the first ring, use an emergency response service
Stairs: use handrails, light switches, nonskid carpeting and nonskid shoes
General: watch for poorly lighted areas or wet surfaces, look around, don’t hurry
In order to get your body in shape, be sure to do four types of exercise: endurance (cardio), strength, flexibility, and balance.
And now that I’ve given each of you some things to think about today, I just wanted to share something totally non-PC. I’m going to talk about two people who attended the class today. (We were a big group of three plus one husband!) Since the two other attendees don’t know me and will never read this blog, I think it’s safe for me to get this off my chest. Once you see the images I saw today, you’ll thank me. Or laugh.
“Carol” was already sitting in class when I got there. She was wearing a cranberry velvety robe over a nightgown with high slits on both sides. How do I know? I couldn’t miss seeing her legs under the table. She sported polished toenails squeezed into Crocs sandals, but they looked like they hadn’t been cut in years. Carol shared a personal story re falling several ago on a step in her garage. Once on the ground, she mentally checked from head-to-toe to see what was injured. When she got to her ankle, she realized she might be in trouble. She called her parents, who called the paramedics when they arrived at her house twenty minutes later. Did I mention that, at the time of this incident, she would have been about 55 or 60? Good for her that her parents were both alive, but why didn’t she call 911 herself?
“Laura” attended the class with her husband. We were quickly informed that “Paul” is her second husband, is Mexican, is six years younger, works nights, and had a small stroke a few years ago. Carol is of Italian and Greek descent, her first husband was an alcoholic, she has balance issues because of an inner ear problem, and she retired in April. OMG, I think the instructor wanted to bolt out of that classroom as soon as she could.
And me? I’m afraid I’ll trip going up and down big curbs and I search for the handicapped sections of the sidewalk. I’d say I was the perfect student.