Re-thinking fall prevention

The poisonous plants of the decorating world. Beautiful, but deadly.

Area Rugs, the poisonous plants of interior decoration. Like Oleander, beautiful but deadly.

We trust that you all know that if you’re concerned with fall prevention, you don’t want area rugs in your home. But even if, like Sleeping Beauty’s parents and spindles, you eliminate every area rug you can, the world is still full of curbs, ice and other risks, so your best defense is strengthening your own balance. To that end, Clive Pei, a professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the  University of Illinois in Chicago, is making seniors fall.

The idea, as explained in this AP article with optional video, is a new take on balance-training: Instead of general muscle conditioning, it lets people practice catching themselves before a fall. Participants train on a mechanized version of an area rug: a moving walkway that is programmed to slide and cause falls. Because they are wearing safety harnesses, they never fall far enough to injure themselves, but the repeated falling motion lets them continuously reinforce the instinctive movements to stop a fall. The study, located in Chicago, is currently recruiting participants.

Of course, you could just buy a cane, but yeah, we know, makes ya look old. Well, if you fear such an accessory might make you seem less than fully virile, we found (oh Internet!) one made from, er, blush, “the reproductive organ of a bull.” For the ladies, bling it on!