CDC - Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview:
"In 2000, direct medical costs totaled $0.2 billion ($179 million) for fatal falls and )19 billion for nonfatal fall injuries" CDC Web site
Can we really afford to ignore a major source of misery and monetary loss? And the worse part is that even if you don't kill yourself in the fall and remain relatively uninjured you still are in fear of falling again. This leads often to less moving about which leads to greater immobility. And the less we move as we all know the more stress we face and the greater our chances for more dire illness.
The CDC is trying to do something about this. I think the IShoe is a perfect example of what can be done with technology by creating a shoe that first analysis the weakness in the gait. Then in future development of IShoe it will help right the walker by amping up the signals from the feet to communicate peril.
But we can also do something less technological and very direct. We can start to recognize the importance of the feet in the overall communication system necessary for proper movement. There is a Japanese saying that we age from the feet up.
I think of it this way. As we age our brain talks less to our feet and our feet talk less to the brain. After awhile the feet and brain are like two people across a lake trying to communicate.
What are the options? Stimulation of the bottoms of the feet can be easily achieved not only by reflexology but by foot rollers, cobblestone paths, wobble boards and so forth. Exercising this communication system might take the form of rocking chairs which help stimulate the balance centers. We need to focus in on these locomotive and balance reflexes to tune and tone them up.
While we as a nation are trying to cut costs here is a place where real saving can take place. And that is not counting the saving of lives.