We All Fall Down
Let’s face it.
You are here because you are afraid. Either for yourself or for someone you care for.
Most people remember that nursery rhyme, although as children, it was a game instead of an existential commentary on life. We are all subject to gravity, and we owe it our lives. Without gravity, a force which no one on earth completely understands, we would literally not exist, at least as we are today. Perhaps there are planets with less gravity. Maybe people fly around there. Or maybe they’ve grown into giants so they can stay “earthbound.”
What’s fascinating about our design is that the human body maintains verticality when properly organized. But once you start to slump, or tilt, gravity begins the inexorable pull of your head, shoulders, and chest towards the ground till you can no longer straighten up. And if you lose your balance, lean too far, or trip, then gravity leaps at the chance to fold you into its embrace and bring you all the way down to the ground.
As children, we fell all the time. Smaller bodies have less distance to descend; more pliable skeletons absorb shock more easily. Our culture views getting down to the ground as inelegant and falling as some kind of failure. Of course, falling is associated with injury, so it would make sense to avoid it, right?
Did You Know?
- Falling is the second most common cause of accidental death in the US.
- It is the most common cause of injury in emergency rooms.
- About one-third of the elder population over the age of 65 falls each year, and the risk of falls increases proportionately with age.
- At 80 years, over half of seniors fall annually.
- But as alarming as they are, these documented statistics fall short of the actual number of falls, since many incidents are unreported by seniors and unrecognized by family members or caregivers.
- Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury among the elderly.
- 87% of all fractures in the elderly are due to falls.
- Falls account for 25% of all hospital admissions, and 40% of all nursing home admissions. And out of that group, 40% of those admitted do not return to independent living; 25% die.
Fear of falling
According to Julie Loebach Wetherell,
Department of Psychiatry, University of California
“Older adults fear falling more than robbery, financial stress, or health problems. About 10 percent report excessive fear, and at least 3 percent of community-dwelling older adults avoid leaving their homes or yards. Most people who fear falling avoid some physical activities. This fear is a better predictor of decreased physical activity than age, perceived health, number of prescription medications, gender, or history of falls.”
And of course, the irony is, most of them fall at home.
the TEDx Talk
So that’s just great, Lavinia, you’ve certainly sketched out the problem, but what’s the solution? Here’s the thing, there is no magic bullet, no special blue pill that will protect you from falling or from injury. In fact, odds are, you are going to fall sometime. The challenge is how to avoid injury and how to get up. And depending on where you are in life, your solution will be unique to you. However, there are a lot of things you can do, both to prevent falling as well as to recover.
There are many sites that can assist you in making your home safer, if that’s what you’re looking for, check out the resource list below. However, your best protection is your own brain and nervous system. It’s what has accompanied you for your entire life and is ready, willing and able to join you as you tumble over that invisible sidewalk crack, or help you recover your aplomb after a face plant.
I’m here to teach you two very important skills.
They are something you used to know but have forgotten.
- How to fall well. You heard me. As you have read, statistically, you have a very small chance of NEVER falling for the rest of your life. Besides, imagine what a drag it would be if you had to spend all your time worrying about the chances of falling! Life would be one big avoidance. In fact, the Netherlands has already created a program to teach older adults how to fall.
- How to get up. You remember the commercial “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Well, you can. You just need to re-program your movement habits so that you have the resources you need when the tipping point occurs. Once you have the training to recover from a fall, there is no longer a need to fear.
“The other day, I was working in the garden and there was this vine I was trying to pull out. I tugged and yanked and then it suddenly gave way. I went flying across the dirt and landed on the concrete sidewalk. I was sure I would hurt myself, but no, I was fine! I have to assume it was all the Feldenkrais work I’ve done kicking in to allow for a soft landing!”
~ Alice Coblentz, MD (Retired)
What others say about Lavinia
It’s not going to cost you hundreds of dollars. In fact, you can start for as little as $6.99. Of course, I recommend that you find a Feldenkrais teacher where you live and go to live classes. But if you can’t, here are some products that can help.
This book and audio program has helped hundreds of people develop new options for better balance, ease of movement, and yes, learning to recover from falling. Empower yourself today.
Audio Lessons for Download – only $1.99 each!
Want to know more? Here are a whole bunch of research papers on the value of Feldenkrais for Older Adults.