“Being Deliberate Is A Great Way To Remain Safe”

As we work with our aging in place clients, and as we go about our daily activities ourselves, preventing falls and injuries is a top priority. No one wants to deal with the dramatic impact of an injury – from an unexpected cut, fall, or bruise to a life-changing event that may land them in the emergency room. 

To begin living life more safely, we need to be deliberate about our actions. We need to briefly assess what we are about to do and make sure it is as safe as we can make it – given everything else going on around us at the time.

Being deliberate means taking a micro-second delay before each activity that we proceed with to make sure nothing unforeseen or unanticipated can occur and affect us. When we are driving, this means being doubly careful pulling out from a stop into an intersection, merging into traffic from a ramp or side street, or backing out of our driveway or parking space. We need to pause momentarily and have another look at the possible presence of an oncoming vehicle (maybe one that changes into the lane closest to us within feet of the intersection where we are about to merge into traffic) a child, a jogger, someone on a bicycle, a dog, or anything or anyone else that suddenly appears.

We have all seen children chase balls into the street without giving any thought to the possibility that there might be a car coming. Many of us have walked through puddles on the sidewalk or unpaved road not really knowing how deep they were or if there was anything dangerous in them. We know that people often attempt to drive across a rain-swollen roadway only to get their car stuck and face the possibility that their life is in danger also.

In the home, we often attempt to reach something from a ladder, step-stool, chair, or even standing on the floor that is just a little beyond our fingers so we stretch for it. At a younger age, it didn’t matter as much. We likely had more flexibility so we could stretch more easily and possibly even grasp what we were trying to reach. Our balance was better so that even if we did over-stretch and start to fall we could recover our balance and remain upright. Even if we did stretch beyond the point where we could remain standing, falling was not as serious as it is now several years later.

As we (and our clients) begin activities around the house, we need to cautiously take that momentary pause to evaluate what we are about to do, assess possible outcomes for going ahead, instantly determine any risks or things that might interact with our movements that might create a less desirable outcome, and do all of this in the briefest of time before we are committed to action that possibly we should avoid.

As we are walking – in order to avoid stumbling, walking into objects, or losing our balance and possibly falling – being deliberate is quite important. We must perceive how a misstep, a hasty movement, or a distraction, may cause us to have an accident. There are more things we have to be aware of as potential dangers as we age. Our eyesight may not be as sharp as it was. If we are wearing bifocal, trifocal, variable, or even readers, looking down at where we are going can be tricky at times because the path may not be in clear focus. Lighting can also have an effect on how well we perceive pathways.

While we may be relatively confident of how to navigate our living space and can do so quite well in the daytime, it can be more challenging with limited lighting or even darkness at night. Items that we easily see or recognize in the daytime we may forget about or misjudge their presence at night.

Remaining safe takes a definite commitment to do so. Being deliberate is the best way to make that our actions are wide and well-executed. Take an extra moment before acting to make certain that we are being safe and that what we are doing will go as intended.

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