I took a large fall the other day–onto concrete face/head first. Luckily, I injured neither face nor head. But…
I broke my fall with my hands and my knees were skinned. I had tripped on a curb I simply didn’t see. I was lucky. Just some soreness and a little blood. I am 74, fyi, and generally very coordinated/spry (I play tennis, bike etc.)
Falling can happen to anyone. My wife, 71, has fallen several times in the house–usually on carpet, thankfully. She is either moving too quickly or unsteady on her feet–perhaps while carrying too many objects. I have heard the screams and try to be Johnny-on-the-spot. She, too, has not been seriously injured, thankfully.
In my case the fall was as much a SHOCK as anything else. It surprised me totally and scared me both at the same time. You probably know the feeling of being totally out of control. It’s not pleasant..
If you are of a certain age falling can certainly incapacitate you–possibly permanently. I remember once falling on the tennis courts. It was ugly. I had backed into a metal pole holding up a perimeter fence, ramming it with my spine. I crumpled to the ground. Once again, I was lucky, just some soreness where I hit the pole.
I believe that where most people fall is in or around bathrooms and showers (along with stairs). I might also suggest that having a pet–especially a dog–makes Fido a Fall Facilitator (sorry). We have a beagle that’s low to the ground and very strong for her size. A quick tug on a leash from her could, well, you know. In my view she’s a potential FFF.
Our house has walk-in showers and standard bathtubs–we don’t use the latter much to save on water (and time). I do shower generally by stepping over the bathtub perimeter–VERY carefully. A rubber mat with suction cups needs to be placed as bathtubs can be slippery. I make note of where the hand holds are every time. The top of the shower enclosure is way safer than grabbing onto the shower doors if you lose your balance. I’ve even reinforced a lower rack just outside the bath by making sure a quick grab won’t pull it out of the wall. And I make sure rugs aren’t slippery and are close to the tub/shower.
We live in a two story house with several levels into our backyard gardens. We recognize that a one story house makes more sense as we age–and we DO have one, in a mobile home park, where we might eventually move permanently. But I do love our 1/3 acre in a rural area of California and for now we can negotiate the ups and downs (and vice versa!)
This is a BIG subject so look elsewhere for more ideas. For now, we have not tried to modify the house in any way, but that might be a good idea for you to consider. Toilets can be raised. Carpet can have runners so less tripping is likely. Thresholds can be made lower to the floor. Grab bars can be installed in showers if they don’t have them. Get a handyman to do these basic things if you can’t do them yourself.
I guess you could say that “mindfulness” is a good idea in preventing falls. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, be mindful of where you are walking and slow down if there are hazards in front or the side of you.
If you live alone, perhaps subscribe to a service like Life Alert, whereby if you fall (and “can’t get up”) you can press a button and get emergency help.
Now if only I had taken my own advice the other day about mindfulness…