Falling                                                      December 2019
We are officially in winter, at least by the measure of the weather. Snow in Colorado, rain in California, overnight temperatures below 70 in Hawaii, and in New England, well let’s not talk about that. Winter brings the darker months when clouds shelter our exposure to the sun. Now the electric light takes on greater value, and we need to use that blessing more.   This is the time of year when our usual patterns are significantly changed as well. Presents are being wrapped, packing of suitcases, food and beverages for potlucks here and there, and party clothes laid out or headed to the cleaners. Combining a dark room with a misplaced suitcase can lead to disaster.
Here are a few hints for the whole year, but especially for this season.
  1. You likely won’t trip over something that you can see.   Instead of putting presents on the floor, place them on furniture or in a special spot above waist high.
  2. It is easier to see something that is in the middle of the floor than just around a blind corner. NEVER leave trip hazards on a staircase or a staircase landing.
  3. Wear thick shoes or slippers at all times when home. A stub on your toe can distract you just enough to create a fall.
  4. Do not carry boxes that are so high that you cannot see over them.
  5. Even though you have lived in your home for many years, don’t walk around in the dark. Home Depot sells some very low energy night lights in packs of four. They turn on automatically when it is dark. I use those to see when I am up in the middle of the night.
  6. Know your limitations from alcohol, prescription drugs, changes in eyeglasses, and general physical health which may cause dizziness when standing up or moving about.
  7. Use the handrail on staircases and steps.
  8. Loose area rugs or door mats can slip and cause you to fall.
  9. Look at your shoes and make sure they have not worn smooth.   Then be especially careful on wet surfaces. Snow and ice? More so.
  10. Staying physically fit promotes muscle control and weight distribution that could prevent a fall.   If you do fall, osteoporosis can contribute to a bone break.
  11. Ladders – faghetabowdit or take a YouTube online safety course.
  12. Be careful where you leave tools, chiefly shovels, rakes, mops, and vacuum cleaners.
  13. The more familiar the territory, the more confidence you will have and this can be dangerous. Be very aware of changes in furniture placement and work in progress.
Laura Ashley was worth many millions, owned clothing stores in a 150 locations and was well known in the fashion industry. She fell on the stairs in her own home and died.
A friend of mine fell into the 16 inch gap between his couch and the coffee table. He could not free himself and was there for six hours until a neighbor found him.
I was photographing a model in the new home community where I was selling and stayed too late. In the dark, I turned my ankle on a 2″ rock.   I was blessed to land on seven points of my body which broke my fall. Scuffed and bruised, I didn’t break anything.
Have a near miss?   Make note of what was leading to a potential fall and correct the cause.

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