You read that right: I want to learn how to fall. That’s the missing bit between fall prevention, improving balance, and getting up from the ground.
I am old and so I know I will fall over again one day. I want to fall sensibly: rolling not crashing, protecting my head, not breaking my wrists. I want to fall like children fall, soft and safe.
How I know I will fall over one day
Everyone falls over sometimes. Old people fall more often.
What’s more, I fell over a few weeks ago.
- It wasn’t because I lost my balance.
- I split my eyebrow open and slightly grazed my hands and knees.
- But I got up from the footpath without using my hands, as usual, no problem.
- And I was annoyed because in theory I know how to fall. But in practice, I react automatically, bracing myself with stiff arms.
I tripped. Anyone can trip. Including old people.
Here’s how I tripped. Walking along happily. I put one foot on the end of a bunch of long drooping reeds. Lifted the other foot, which was then trapped under the reeds. Trapped and tripped.
This particular injury happens a lot.
I told my daughter and she said she had almost done it that week with some flax. Then I told my son who said he had done it himself yesterday, and that had seen multiple patients who had tripped in this very way. Their support helped me feel a bit less responsible and useless. But it won’t do me any good the next time I fall.
Why I need to learn how to fall
I know how to fall: soften your knees, soften your body, put your arms around your head and sort of roll sideways. I’ve read about it, and friends have told me. But that’s useless information if it’s not embedded in my body and mind.
To fall properly I need training and practice. Knowledge is not sufficient: we all know that.
Who will train us how to fall?
ACC (New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation) gives incentives to those who train older people in fall prevention, balance, and getting up from the ground. Local bodies are also committed to this sort of training and education.
Stopping all old people from falling would save the government millions of dollars in medical treatment and care. Also, failing a broken hip or leg, being strong enough to get up and use the phone after a fall can save a heck of a lot of suffering. So removing hazards and increasing balance and strength are extremely good things to do.
My point is this: if we also fall softly, protecting our heads, protecting our wrists, that will also save a heck of a lot of pain and money. (And uglification, speaking from experience. See the photo.)
As far as I know, there’s no falls training in my home city at the moment. So here’s what I’m going to do:
- ask the city council to run such courses
- start asking local jujitsu instructors if they can do it
- if no result, get one-on-one training from a jujitsu instructor.
Please rush me with good examples and advice. Help me train my brain and body to fall softly without breaking anything. Have you done it?
- The language of falls in old age
- ACC: Preventing falls for people over 65
- Age Concern: Falls prevention