Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reducing the fallout from Falls

The Young Bride" and I were out for our morning jog this morning, and as she related it later, she was just thinking that the track by the lake that we were jogging on was a bit uneven and perhaps she'd better run on the nearby path! At which point she tripped over a tree root and literally "came a cropper"! Needless to say I was extremely proud of the way that she rolled as she fell, thus distributing the bruises and sprains over several parts of her body, instead of focusing on one area which may have led to a broken bone! Even more impressive was the way she gazed at her skinned knee and just got up and carried on: I think her attitude to pain makes me understand why she had the babies and I looked on!

But falls come completely out of the blue, and often when you least expect them - and most of them happen in the home! As we age and become less flexible and "bouncible", falls can prove life-threatening and the more we can do to help prevent and prepare for them, the less likely they are to irreversibly change our lives in a bad way.

Firstly the human factor, and there are three elements here: the brain, the muscles and the bones.

Part of preparing for any form of exercise, be it a walk, jog or cycle ride should include the thought bubble - "What should I do if ..". What the Young Bride did was to roll as she fell - something we had discussed in the past - so as to distribute the "energy of impact" over a wider area of her body. You still get the pains and the bruises, but they pass: if you just stick your hands out, you're just as likely to snap your wrists and end up in plaster for 6 weeks and all that rehab afterwards. Or even worse, it could be a fractured hip which will put you in hospital or even underground!

Secondly, maintaining muscle tone is very important as your muscles will act as "Shock absorbers", in other words they will let you down a bit more slowly and again reduce that energy of impact. And finally, maintaining bone strength will help reduce fracture risk. Having strong bones happens through constant use and good nutrition - and that includes adequate Calcium intake and healthy Vitamin D levels - if you're not sure what this means for you, then check with your family Doc.

Then routinely run a check list for home safety: carpets, cables and debris on staircases etc. Remember that you might keep the place as you want it, and you may well know where the dangers lurk, but a well meaning family member or care-giver can "move things" and that could just lead you to take a wrong step in the dark and fall "base over apex"!

Summary: Prepare yourself by keeping as fit and strong as you can. When preparing for exercise, have an "emergency exit" plan - roll as you fall. And check your home environment on a regular basis for potential "man/woman traps". Pride may come before a fall, but a little forethought might just save your pride!
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2 comments:

Mariodacatsmom said...

Another excellent post and a good reminder. I'm terribly afraid of falling and always try to watch where I'm walking. I do think tho I'd better go around and remove a couple of scatter rugs that are safety hazards (we have carpeting in all the rooms, which is another type of hazard if you don't pick your feet up).

Lee Ann Stangl said...

Good Morning - bonjour- g'day.....Duncan and Maggie,
I am thankful that Maggie didn't hurt herself and would suggest yoga for good balance practice, too. Although I have fallen over it is usually on a rubber mat.
By the way, I noticed your book list didn't include "1000 Gifts". Just finished and think you would like it. Very spiritual and deep.
How anxious are you to get home now that your French is probably perfect?
Loving the retired lifestyle.....
Lee Ann