A colleague of mine, who is in her late 50s, tripped and fell sprawling on to the pavement while running for a bus on her way home from work the other day.
Fortunately, no bones were broken and the only injures sustained were bruises to her arms, legs and pride. As toddlers we fall down all the time but once we enter our fifth and sixth decades it’s a very different scenario.
For one thing, it can feel as if we are on a slippery slope to decrepitude. While a fall can be a helpful warning sign to take greater care and avoid hazards, it can also damage confidence and self-esteem. If there are factures, the rehab process can be draining and drawn-out. Some things, such as fingers and limbs, may never be quite the same as they were before.
But there is a silver lining, of sorts. As my colleague noted, the experience of falling and its consequences made her much more alert to the challenges and indignities faced by disabled people as they get from A to B on the streets or travel by public transport. Cliff Towson from the CSP’s disabled members network, writes cogently about some recent examples of disabled people suffering unnecessarily while travelling on trains (page 22). He calls on society to embrace the ‘social model of disability’, which says we are capable of making policy and technology changes that would ensure disabled people get a fair deal.
But, of course, a little more empathy and patience on an everyday basis from able-bodied citizens would help too.
- Ian A McMillan Deputy editor, Frontline
AuthorIan A McMillan deputy editor, Frontline
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