The New York Times had an interesting article on how the Dutch are helping elderly residents from falling. Falling can be a serious thing for older adults. Aging causes the bones to become brittle, and broken ones do not heal as readily. The Dutch, like many elsewhere, are living longer than in previous generations, often alone. As they do, courses that teach them not only how to avoid falling, but how to fall correctly, are gaining popularity. The classes are designed for people over 65.
There is the “Belgian sidewalk,” a wooden contraption designed to simulate loose tiles; a “sloping slope,” ramps angled at an ankle-unfriendly 45 degrees; and others like “the slalom” and “the pirouette.” The obstacle course was clinically devised to teach them how to navigate treacherous ground without having to worry about falling, and how to fall if they did. In order to learn, the students start by approaching the mats slowly, lowering themselves down at first. Over the weeks, they learn to fall. Hundreds of similar courses are taught by registered by physio- and occupational therapists across the Netherlands.