Memory Theory: Why Old People Trip and Fall

The first sign that you’re growing old is CRASH. You fall down the stairs, you fall flat on your face because of a small rock you didn’t see,  you didn’t see that elevated floor area or that dip in the road, or you just randomly tripped because of, I dunno, the wind, gravity, or the workings of a ghost.

Why do old people trip and fall more than the young ones? Could this increased tripping phenomena be caused by the age-related decline in one’s memory? That’s my unfounded, untested, unscientific theory.

Maybe people trip because their brains have forgotten to remind them that their eyes already saw that trip-inducing obstacle. When young people start walking, we don’t really deliberately scan every inch of incoming road, but our eyes glance at  it and register it. For some sort of reason, when a hump or a rock comes near, we remember to look at it, and step to the right, or left, or over it. Like an eye blinking at intrusive dust, maybe we have this unnoticed reflex that saves us from injuries.

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2 thoughts on “Memory Theory: Why Old People Trip and Fall

  1. The answer to your question remains a mystery, as even researchers do not know for sure why older people trip and fall. It is serious, however. The American National Safety Council reports that falls are the leading cause of *accidental* deaths among people above age 75. They also report that falls are the 2nd leading cause of *accidental* deaths among people aged 45-75. That is scary!

    As we grow older, our vision, balance and even our gait seems to change, so all these are probably factors. It is also more difficult for older people to “catch” their fall and remain stable. It is also more difficult for them to lessen the impact of their fall. Bones are more easily broken, whereas a younger person may only receive a bruise when they trip and fall.

    My father in law in the Philippines is 82 and I cringe every time I see him walking around slowly with his walking cane. He is unsteady but he still walks around the house to some extent.

    ~ Gary ~


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