My home-health business has morphed into serving a geriatric clientele over the past few years, and with it, many of the tasks I ask of my clients involves ambulation, balance, and the strength and flexibility needed to prevent falls and maintain their independence (stay out of assisted living). While I provide them with strategies and exercises to prevent falls, I also show them how to get up from the floor should they ever end up there. To me, getting down on the floor, rolling over onto my back, rolling to one side to get up to my hands and knees, crawling to a place where I could use my arms and legs to get up to a standing position is not difficult. After the first several clients attempted it and failed, I was floored (no pun intended)! Not only could they not get up, a few of them could not even crawl! Keep in mind that these were people in there 70’s and 80’s, and I understand that one isn’t as strong as they were in there 40’s or 50’s, but not being able to even crawl? Do we get that out of touch with our bodies over the years? Maybe so, since basically our lifestyle consists of moving from one sitting position to another. We no longer have to hunt and gather, do physical work, or even get off the couch to change the channel on the TV. So my focus is on teaching people how to make their lives an exercise is and of itself. Getting up and down out of a chair or off of the toilet, picking up-carrying- and placing objects down, are all things that can make one stronger, if done correctly. And, they are all things that one has to do anyway. Yesterday, I saw the fruits of my teaching: One of my clients who had not been able to even crawl, was able to get down onto his back on the floor, roll over, crawl to his bed, where he could pull and push himself to a standing position. I admit I assisted him a little with the help of a gait belt, but I can see him doing it by himself within a couple of weeks. The areas I’ve been working with him are; flexibility of the foot, ankle, and shins/calves, quad and glut strength, and arm and shoulder strength. These are the typical areas that weaken form prolonged sitting. My client is feeling much better about himself, more confident, and much less fearful about ending up on the floor. Think about that for a minute. How much your life would change by being so afraid when walking, or getting up, or reaching for something, or stepping off a curb, fear of falling and not being able to get up. Stay active. Please. Or,call me for help.
Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.