It’s evening and I want to go out for a short walk. But do I really dare to leave home?
I read on some website that about 46 % of us over 65 who falls cannot get up on our feet without help. Therefore elderly should train to regain some of their bodily loss of strength, flexibility and balance with exercises. This we are advised. To prevent it from happening.
But if you anyway would fall, you’re told to use an armchair or a stool to get up on feet again. I’ve tried this advice with a stool in the bathroom and it actually works well. I tried it with an armchair in my living room too. But the cat sleeping there didn’t appreciate my strange crawling. So I went back to the bathroom to train there.
Yet my problem is I rarely would fall at home but I do it when I’m out and walk on a sidewalk. And so far I have never taken a walk with a chair or a stool. Maybe I should, but it feels odd to do. How would it look if I (aged!) lady would come walking passing all neighbor windows, carrying a stool or an armchair?
“Oh, there she goes again, that odd lonely woman from the corner house on her night walks. Now she got really odd or senile, walking out with a kitchen chair under the arm.” Embarrassment, only at the thought.
But facts are facts. I can’t get up if I fall because I weigh 220 lb., have weakened wrists and ankles, hurting feet and a worn hip and lower back problems. Everything in my body aches more or less. When I fall I can get back up on my hurting hands and knees, but then I’m stuck and totally helpless to get up on my feet again, lost.
And I recognize myself: here I am again on the ground, in despair…
Not for long, though. So far someone has turned around and helped me. So far! But I say, poor those short and tiny but helpful men rushing for to help me up! I believe they afterwards regret their good impulses, when there with me on the ground and they got my body weight on them to lift up. I think they asked God to give them strength to help them out of the situation and not go home with a lumbago!
Actually, we all should train how to get an older and heavy person on her or his feet. No one seems to know how to do it. From those who helped me on different occasions, I’ve learned that to reach out one simple hand is not of any help. To then from the same position offer the whole arm and drag me up works but it was heavy for the helping person. To stand behind my back and put the arms around me to lift me is not good either. Well, it is good if you want to drag a person out of a burning house, but not easy to get someone on the feet. Lifting a 220 lb. person that way probably doubled my weight and harm the back of my good helper.
I have google on this and I can’t find no other advices than those how to avoid to fall and then if anyone does, do it indoors with a chair nearby. In reality, people fall on a street as I do – and unfortunately you may be the only one there willing to help.
And if you are a little man of 5.7 feet and 145 lb. (1.70 m + 66 kg), poor you what to do?
I will give a few suggestions: now with the situation with me on my knees and not able to get further:
1. You stand beside me and stick your arm under my armpit and hold your hand on my chest and put the other arm around my back to hold me by my waist. Then you bend down your knees and breathe in and when breathe out you stretch your legs and lift me. It’s less heavy.
2. Or you can stand in front of me and hold me under my arms, bend your knees and take a step back while you straight your legs.
3. Or, stand in front me my knees, reach out your arms and let me take them in a firmly grip and then you back off from me, with that drag me up.
Now you may silently think: why I don’t use a stick or a walker for support, having this problems. But I don’t need a walker and a crutch more than you do. Yes, I limp a little when my sore hip aches at its worst and a stick is of a certain support on such an unhappy day. Otherwise it’s better training for the body not to lean on such supports. And walk with a crutch and a stick is not easy if you not need it it’s all in the way all the time and you fear it will tripping you, I’ve been there. Lose weight would do it you think? Yes, and I wish that, but have you’ve tried it? Then you know: easy said, harder to implement.
I train on regain the balance to keep me on my feet. That’s for to prevent a fall. Good. But that is of no use for me, as I have a tricky brain who simply order the right leg to fold away and not support the body. No use with training the balance then! And there is never such moment when I can experience that I loose the balance to straighten me to get back upright. My leg is off duty but I can’t feel it and I take a step further – and I fall rapidly to the ground, uncontrolled.
After such an event and happily back home again, I feel mentally bad (read = sad) and shaken. But the bodily shock comes hours after to plant out pains in every muscle in every limb during the following night. Soon the body is better, yes. But the fear is still there: do I dare to go outdoors leaving home? What if I fall again?
No, I don’t dare but still I will: now I leave this writing to resume my habit with night walks. And I will bring with me a stool, hidden in an IKEA blue bag!