Thursday, August 7, 2008

step in time

The journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step. So we must never neglect any work of peace within our reach, however small.
Adlai E. Stevenson II (1900-1965), American politician

I've had steps on my mind a great deal over the last few months and how such seemingly innocuous objects can in fact be anything but .... my musings about steps went into high gear during may while I was working on a project which entailed taking photographs during home health care visits. this past weekend the potentially dangerous nature of steps was really driven home while I was visiting my parents. my parents live a split- level house; which is not a very user-friendly house design for the elderly or people with mobility concerns. however, for many reasons it is very unrealistic for my parents to move. so the offspring have been putting our heads together to try and help my dad and mom set up steps they can take to reduce the risk of injury for my father and mother as they have to deal with the steps in their house; these things include putting up some extra grab bars, encouraging my parents to utilize some of the services out there to bring much needed assistance into the house, for my father, who is quite frail, to negotiate the stairs only when there is assistance available, etc.

I reckon almost everyone can come up with a personal story about how a fall down steps or the stairs can dramatically alter a life. accordingly to the national safety council (nsc), over the last several years, the frequency of preventable injuries among people age 65 and older has increased dramatically. alan mcmillan, nsc president and ceo is quoted as saying that "...more than 15,000 Americans 65 and older died as a result of unintentional injuries in the home. We need to take steps now in order to address this urgent national issue." nsc data reports that in the united states, more than 30,000 people over the age of 65 are seriously injured by falling each week and nearly 250 die from their injuries. falling is the leading cause of injury and the leading cause of injury-related death, for both men and women 75 and older. this data is very sobering and really reinforces the need to take steps to reduce injury due to falls.

to end on different note - a photograph of steps that I particularly like:

and a vid from one of my favorite childhood movies, dick and company singing step in time (1964)


photos: top-steps along one of the trails at holden arboretum insert-dad checking out the newly installed grab bar. bottom - art students sitting along the steps in parc guell

19 comments:

Bob Dylan said...

As soon as I read your title (on someone else's blog roll) I started singing that song in my head, but couldn't remember what movie it was from.

Love the shot with the people sitting on the stone steps.

Steve said...

Did you see?? I actually REMEMBERED this week -- thanks to your reminder. :)

I love "Mary Poppins"! In fact, the soundtrack was my first record when I was a little kid.

tut-tut said...

Ah, that thought (about not being able to manage steps) flitted into and out of my head. Thanks for pointing out the serious nature of stairs for many of us. I like the dramatic steps, and artist steps, and your dad taking some assisted steps.

Squirrel said...

Yeah, the whole mobility issue is out there... very interesting.

bitchlet said...

My mother has been diagnosed with osteoporosis and in the span of just one year she has had three falls resulting in a foot fracture, a collarbone fracture and recently a gash on the bridge of the nose from the uneven sidewalk. II feel scared for her.

jenclair said...

When my mother fell several years ago and broke her jaw, the seriousness of falls in the elderly was brought home to me. I can't yet imagine it for myself, but as I watch the elderly in their attempts at careful negotiation of the terrain, I sympathize because one serious fall can mean the end of mobility.

Megan said...

Great pictures and video! I like Step in Time even more than Chim Chiminy.

Hmm, steps. I will ponder them.

Professor Montblanc said...

I am Bacckk! stepping in time today thank you. I am thinking so much about the stepping.

R.L. Bourges said...

A big problem. Yet, America is much more user-friendly in that regard than Europe where steps are everywhere - along with narrow, uneven sidewalks. Something of an obstacle course, in many instances.
We live in a charming house but with three levels connected by very steep stairs. You tend to think about what you'll be needing from one level before going to the next :-)

Hope the assistance works out for your parents.

phd girl said...

This got me thinking... Dick Van Dyke... I forgot what ..

hey could your next theme thursday have something to do with hairdryers maybe?


thx .

mouse (aka kimy) said...

bob - that song is a bit of an earworm!

steve - I did...and your steps photo rock! ah another connection!

tut - thanks...it's tough to watch my father on the steps.... hope his guardian angel is on the clock at all times!

squirrel - I admit I take my own mobility so much for granted.

b - hugs (gentle) to your mom.... I hope she is fall free from here on out....it is scary.

jen - and more frightening is the knowledge that a fall can be not only the end of mobility but of mortality too. take care.

megan - re songs - me too...step in time always brings a pounce to my step!!

professor - glad you are back must go check what is up with you - you high stepping guy you!

rlb - yes some your observations are completely right on.... you be careful....

phd - I think we have a plan....the post for next wks theme will be up real, real soon.... now your comment got me thing about hair and van dykes...how I love seeing a man sporting an attractive van dyke! hummm.....

Coffee Messiah said...

These stairs/steps or even walking do indeed not enter our minds, until....

We have some elderly friends who always walked/hiked and now, after giving up their car, don't get out much.

We have in the past taken them and their walkers, but, they still don't do as much.

Quite sad. Again, at least they move around a bit, and, what's the hurry for any of us anyway?

King Pin said...

A friend of my mom's broke her hip in her sleep, and upon awakening, fell as soon as she stood up. I always thought a fall caused hip breaks. The docs told me no.

King Pin said...

I myself plan to carry a nice cane when I reach the age of 50. Just as a prop, mind you, but by age 80, when I'll need it, it will be like a beloved appendage.

Barbara said...

Stairs and railings reminded me of Santorini, where they refuse to install handrails on the hundreds of steps down so that people will be forced to take the smelly donkeys instead. We walked down and our fears vacillated between falling over the edge and being stampeded by a donkey.

I find handrails to be incredibly reassuring.

Annie Ha said...

i saw the title of your post on Megan's buffet, and I had Step In Time in my head ALL DAY. Glad you included it in your post. Dick Van Dyke in Disney is the best.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

coffee - one of my good buds (age 82) just fell and broke her leg in two places. she's been active - zipping about teaching continuing education classes (and not basket weaving - but things like joyce's ulysses). she's in a rehab center and it's been very, very hard. all of her buds are concerned....

best of luck to your friends - bette davis is right "getting old ain't for sissies" and we do have to use it or lose it....goes for mind and body, eh?

king pin - I'm sure you will look quite fetching with the cane. hope your mom's friend is able to heal from her hip fracture - I have heard that with respect to hip fractures: 1/3 get better; 1/3 get worse and 1/3 die

barbara - praise hand rails!!!

annie ha - thanks for dropping in!

lettuce said...

good old dick!

(dreadful accent though)

Cergie said...

In China, they say that reaching knowledge needs to climb a mountain of books
(A stair is a good allegory)