The other night, I attended a continuing education session for a ministry in which I serve. The speaker talked to us about ways to help the elderly and infirm (which included me and everyone else in the room, as it happens) maintain the independence necessarily to age in place. The main focus of her talk was prevention of common potential catastrophes. She talked about falls, medication errors, fires, and food poisoning. She regaled us with wild and fearsome statistics that seemed to suggest that a person over 65 years of age is more likely to encounter some tragic end than to lose the tv remote in any given day.
As the speaker bounded from one terrifying possibility to another, I think she could see the people in the room starting to panic. The participants around me started to gingerly and shamedly confess to all kinds of folly, like ascending a ladder to undecorate the Christmas tree and relying on the date on the marked carton to determine if an egg was still good. I could see on their faces that they were calculating the odds of surviving to our next meeting in a month. It did not look good.
The speaker stopped mid-sentence, as if suddenly realizing she was scaring the pants off her audience. She asked, “is everyone here over 65?” She stared at me and I honestly told her that I was not over 65 yet. That seemed to make her feel better. At least one of us was not standing right at the door to disaster.
As we were leaving the building, several of the participants still seemed worried. They mused out aloud about leaving the Christmas tree up all year long to prevent standing on a ladder. I quickly volunteered my help. “Call me, “ I said. “I can stand on a ladder for you. But don’t delay. I’m only safe for another nine months!”
What home accidents worry you as you age? I think falling is the way I will most likely encounter catastrophe. I am fundamentally clumsy and convinced I am much more physically agile than I actually am. Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a safe day!