Friday, September 27, 2013

The science of klutziness

Once you pass 50, you will suddenly be conscious of a lot of stories on how one in three "seniors" will fall this year. Falls are the number of one cause of injury and death for those over 65!

Shirley S. Wang, WSJ, Sept 24, 2013, says scientists are still looking into why people can't stay on their feet--and it's complex. A delicate "balance" of foot placement, arm movement, trunk angle, and head motion.

May I add to that--vision lining you up with reality on both sides, and flexibility to counter adverse events such as a sleeping cat.

All day, as you walk or stand, your body makes tiny adjustments. How the brain fits in is not wholly known--there may be motion-detector neurons there to make big adjustments when you stumble over that cat.

The vestibular system within the inner ear keeps track largely of how your head is moving.

These scientists actually rigged up old people with a safety harness and tripped them on the treadmill.

Hope that gig paid well.

My balance is shot from only having one eye to line me up and maybe wacky vestibulars. My mother had a fall and they made her stand on a squooshy pillow and go to PT 13 times. The guy at one PT place was stoned out of his melon on pot. But I digress.

I could not stand on a pillow for 10 seconds. Urp--makes me sick to think of it.

I also read a study last week that said people in nursing homes are scared of falling.

Another one for The Big Book of Duh.

I find hanging on walls quite handy and effective.


srdem65 said...

Good evening,
We haven't seen you for a while at WHD. Missing your sage comments.


Anna Maria said...

Interesting take on falling...leaves me wondering if the stoner at PT was a patient or instructor. I suppose if I fell and broke a hip and couldn't move I could see the advantage of inhaling smoke.

Seriously, as I've gotten older I find myself becoming more aware of being careful not to "miss" a step. The worst sacrifice I finally made was giving up long soaking salted baths for showers. As Mom used to lament quite often, "It's HELL to get old!"

Star Lawrence said...

My mother was the (irritating) opposite--she suffered from dementia and would chirp, "I feel as young as I ever did!" All the while, sis and I gimped around taking her to and fro, paying her bills, finding her things...

Star Lawrence said...

PS Those salted baths can be slippery--good call!

Star Lawrence said...

PPS--The stoner was the physical therapist--it was sort of amusing, actually. Mom was steadier than he was.