Having spent six weeks on placement in the NHS, it seems that a lot of problems that professionals face, both on the ward, and in the community is that of falls.
Falls to the ground, and then the difficulty in getting back up off it again.
I find this astonishing, but it really is the case. The evidence is out there. It was estimated that in 2002, just under half of all hospital admissions in the UK were directly attributable to a fall (http://www.hassandlass.org.uk/reports/2002data.pdf). I’m sure there are some more up to date data around, but couldn’t find any after a cursory search. Either way, that is a lot of accidents – just about a million, from falling over, or off something.
The floor is what attaches us to the rest of the world, and as we get older and more frail, it becomes an enemy. The floor, always there, is something that people fear. Despite the fact that as children, it is our closest friend, it is where we spend most of the time falling over, crawling about, and generally messing about, as we get older, we lose that connection to it.
The floor is something we stand on, and not a lot more. It is a platform that we try to avoid at all costs.
This, I reckon, is to our detriment.
When I lived in Japan, I did the tea ceremony on a weekly basis with a group of septegenerians. They had no problems getting on and off the floor. To them, falling over and getting back up again would not have been an issue. The floor held no fear for them. Is this something that we should consider?
If, from a young age we can get onto and off the floor without even thinking about it, we evidently lose that ability as we get older. But, if we do it, day in, day out, if we practice getting to the floor – that may seem such a long, long way away, and practice getting back off it again, maybe, by the time we get old, by the time we get to the age where we really don’t want to be falling as we’re afraid we won’t get back up again, that fear will not materialise… why not? Simply because it is a matter of day-to-day life. It is part and parcel of who we are.
I’ve been trying to get my parents to practice getting on the floor and back up again. The more we do it. The more we engage with something that is part of us – the floor, the less we will be afraid of it in the future when we become older.