About this Blog

Yes, this a blog to share helpful experiences and ideas with "old people." I reject the term "senior citizen" because I don't like those made-up terms whose only purpose is to disguise reality. A crippled person is no less crippled for being called "disabled", and a mentally retarded person is no brighter for being called "special". Even worse is "senior." I was a senior in high school and college, and I refuse to accept the condescending term "senior" at the age of 77. I have no special qualifications to advise elderly people (I like the time-honored terms "elderly" and "elders"), but I hope that by presenting some things I've learned, and receiving comments from readers, this blog will improve some lives. If you are under 65 years old, I suggest that you avoid this blog. You'll have time enough later to think about old age.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


This post will be about a method to avoid falling
down while walking.
One of our first great accomplishments in our early months on this planet was to go from horizontal to vertical. 
"He stood up today!"

This gravity-defying feat was followed by actually stepping forward, at least briefly, while vertical.   "She took her first steps today!"

After early childhood, our next reminder that for a mammal to stand erect and walk on its hind legs is an unnatural activity usually comes as we get old, at which point gravity once more becomes an adversary rather than an almost unnoticed part of living.  Most people over 70 learn that it becomes increasingly more difficult to walk briskly and increasingly easier to fall down.

Of course we all know that there is so much variance among human beings that the advent of hobbling will occur at widely different ages, so that one person of 75 may be as mobile as a 60 year old, while another of 70 may limp along like an 85 year old.

(Which reminds me:  What when does "old" begin?  During my younger years I set "old" at 70.  I was never one of those silly youths who thought people were old at 50 or even 30.  I decided, "When you are over 70, you are getting old."  You may think the number should be closer to 80, but the later you think "old" begins the better off you are psychologically.  We can talk about this some other time.)
Here is what I worked out for myself about walking without falling down.  It is so embarrassingly simple that I hesitate to write it, but it really did help me to use this methodical procedure instead of just spontaneously setting off to walk from one place to another:
1.  First, look at the goal to which you intend to walk.  For example, you're in the kitchen looking at the living room sofa.
2. Look closely at the entire ground between yourself and the goal.  Do a real survey.  Any wires or other objects on the floor?  Any steps up or down?  Any uneven surfaces -- edge of a rug, slightly raised tile?  Any corners you might run into?  Anything sticking out over the edges of tables along the way?
3.  When you begin to walk toward the goal, turn your visual attention to your feet and the spot where each foot is going next.  The important thing now is to watch where your feet are going.
4.  As necessary, pause to look up and quickly survey again the area between you and your goal, and then look down at your feet and continue in that way until you arrive safely at your goal.
I assure you it takes less time to carry out the phases of this procedure than it does to read about it.  I can also assure you that using the method will take less time than getting yourself off the floor if you fall down.
It occurs to me that the lesson underlying the need for the method I've described is that an activity like walking becomes so natural over so many years that it become unconscious.  We feel that it requires no attention, much less care.  But things change.

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