Our job is to keep you steady on your feet, no matter what age you are. But what happens when you fall and you are scared you can’t get up? Having taught balance and stability classes for years we like to think we have improved the quality of life of so many of our “fallers”, having increased confidence and built up strength. But sometimes (not often) it goes wrong and we have to rethink and go back to basics when someone falls. One of clients didn’t quite fall, but couldn’t get up in the middle of a falls prevention class and this is what happened.
We can’t prove that we stop people falling over in their future, we do ensure we follow evidenced based patterns in our programs. We do have countless anecdotal stories of where our methods have been put into practice. So during our backward chaining teaching, Bob gets down on the floor without any problems. Only when he was on the floor, he decided to share that he had fallen earlier in the day. In spite of the countless instructions and clear warnings of why you shouldn’t get on the floor unless you can get back off it, Bob decided he would be fine. BUT HE WASN’T. Bob had lost his upper body power and therefore lost his independence in one moment.
Not to plan
Despite all the repetitions and practise of the movements that he had performed over the course of 17 weeks so far, he simply had no strength due to the earlier fall and could not lift his body weight off the floor. Bob lay on his side and pushed his arm into the ground to lift his torso and each time he simply collapsed and then he began to panic. When panic hormones kick in, you forget everything in the moment.
Backward Chaining what is it?
At 6 foot 4 and the young age of 84, he really is a brilliant client, a little stubborn and cheeky maybe. So as we worked to help him off the floor (it took three of us), I started to revisit his movement pattern and apply an exercise solution to the problem.
Panic on the floor
You could hear his tone and panic, his ability to listen to instructions was fading fast. What can we do to we prevent this happening or at the very least reduce the risk?
Then we all took a breath. “Listen to me Bob. Breathe and remember what we have taught you. Now listen to me, together we are going to get you up and you are in control”.
It wasn’t a miracle. It wasn’t quite the way we normally work through backward chaining in the perfect sense but he got up. He landed with exhaustion on his chair and then cracked up laughing. Then we all breathed out and turned around and listened to the applause from the rest of the class.
Never Give Up
Did he get on the floor again? Too right he did. The lesson is, NEVER GIVE UP. It is never too late to start something and you should never give up.