“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?”
According to Greek Mythology, this is the classic riddle delivered by the Sphinx. According to the myth, if any person who was asked this riddle could not answer, they were thrown down against the rocks and killed by the Sphinx. When this riddle was posed to Oedipus Rex, he considered his words carefully and declared the answer in one word; Man.
His reasoning was as a baby, a human goes about on all fours (“four legs in the morning” – morning being childhood). Then he learns to walk, which he does well into adulthood (“two legs in the afternoon” – afternoon being adulthood). Finally, advanced age requires him to use a cane to support himself (“three legs in the evening” – evening being old age).
It is the evening I wish to discuss in this post.
It is so important to avoid falls. Statistically 1 in 4 aging adults will be injured in a fall this year. Falls prevention is such a hot topic that the federal government NCOA has devoted a whole program strictly centered on fall prevention.
As we age, our once strong bodies sometimes need additional support to continue to be active. Using canes, walkers or crutches becomes commonplace as balance or coordination skills become affected. Making certain our home environments are adapted to our new skill level is important. Here are 5 easy to accomplish tips to ensure your environment helps you avoid falls.
- First thing to remember is to remove unnecessary clutter in your home. Removing unnecessary clutter from walkways will help prevent unwanted tripping over objects that you meant to throw away years ago. Yes we all have them! Clear the pathways of stacks of books and magazines, extra furniture and scatter rugs.
- Next thing is to install grab bars in and around your bathing areas. Nothing feels quite like a hot bath after a long day, so ensure you can traverse these wet, slick areas by installing grab bars everywhere you may need a handhold. Apply non-slip appliques in the bottom of your tub for extra traction, or use a rubberized bath mat with suction cups.
- Make certain you can see objects around you properly to avoid falls. Knowing where things are supposed to be in your home is not enough. Be certain you have the proper lighting in your home to see clearly so obstacles won’t become obstacles to you! Add nightlights that come on automatically as night falls- so you won’t!
- Have dual handrails installed on stairs- not just on one side, but on both. While climbing stairs we can become fatigued more quickly than walking
on a level plane. Dual handrails will help to steady your gait and provide additional support for the body. Avoid falls as you avoid carrying things up and down the stairs as much as you possibly can. Countless falls happen every year as people negotiate the stairs with hands full.
- Finally, review your medications side effects. If a medicine tells you plainly on the bottle, “May cause dizziness”, avoid physical activity for a couple of hours after you take that medication. Instead, pick up a book or read your favorite blog to enhance your mind! Always use your walker or cane if you do find that your medication is causing dizziness issues, and do speak to your doctor about any side effects you are experiencing. Your doctor certainly doesn’t want to increase your fall risk either!
What happened to Oedipus? Once he answered the riddle of the Sphinx he was free to pass and enjoy life. All of us here at SpinLife wish the same for you, and hope that using these 5 simple tips will prevent a fall that could do serious damage to your “Oedipus Rex!”