Falls have become an important healthcare issue for elderly adults because it can lead to disability, impaired function, and decreased quality of life. Moreover, falls can cause broken bones, head injuries, and psychological stress.
Today was the day that I have been waiting for in the last 5 weeks. Those elderly participants came over to Kaohsiung Medical University to participate in my project. There were eight of them aged between 60 and 83. I had a lot of pressure to work with elderly adults because I needed to make sure they’re safe during the experiment. That’s why I needed to use the gait belt to make sure they wouldn’t fall on the floor. I don’t know how to express my pressure today because there were many problems with my experiment today. First, I only had the electromyography (EMG) for 3 hours from 10 am to 1 pm because someone already booked it at 1 pm. It meant that I only had about 3 hours to collect data on as many participant as I could. Unfortunately, those participants came later than I expected. Therefore, I did not have enough time to collect the EMG data from all of them. I had to return the EMG after collecting data from the 4th participant. For my project, I measured the EMG signal and center of pressure (COP) with the single leg stance on the force plate. Since I had returned the EMG, I decided to continue measuring COP by asking the other 4 participants step on the force plate. At least I still had the COP data from all 8 participants and EMG data from 4 participants. I thought the problem only came from the EMG. Then there was another problem with the force plate’s software. I couldn’t export the data from the computer. I had to come back next day to figure out how to fix this. Time is narrowing down and I’m trying to finish strong with my project.
Why did I name this blog “Falls”? Today was a special day for me. I got a bad news from my friend in Vietnam saying that my 9th grade’s teacher broke her leg from falling on the floor. I haven’t talked to her for over 9 years because I lost contact since I came to the U.S. I can’t believe that the next time I would talk to her again she would, sadly, be in a hospital bed. She was a most important teacher who influenced me when I was at school in Vietnam. She was a Physics’ teacher but she taught me more about how to be a good person. We had a conversation for an hour and she asked me a lot about how my life is in the U.S. Before saying goodbye, she told me one thing that made me think about it a lot. She hopes that I can open up myself more and not be alone, like her. At aged of 60, she fell on the floor and broke her leg. She said it’s possible for her to do a surgery, but she’s not sure if she can walk as normal.
My teacher’s story reminds me why my project is important because it helps me to have a better understand of postural control of elderly people.