96 and Still Falling—On Purpose

As our friend Bob grew into his 80s, he began falling. No particular reason for the falls—he didn’t trip or get knocked, he just started keeling over and then he’d be on the ground. He suffered a broken hip first, then a broken neck that kept him in rehab for almost a year. At last he was released, but at home, he fell every day, finally landing back in the hospital. He had to give up his apartment and is now in assisted living.

No one seems to be interested in why he falls or ways to prevent the falls, just repairing the damage after he falls. So I sat up with interest to read about a 96-year-old named Elliott Royce who says he falls on purpose at least five times every morning and estimates that he has fallen down at least 15,000 times over

the past 10 years. It’s all practice in how to fall without injury. He was interviewed by Jeff Strickler for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Royce goes to assisted living centers, senior centers and community centers to talk about how to prevent serious injuries in a fall. He doesn’t just talk about how to fall, he demonstrates the tricks and techniques of safe falling.

Royce also takes an hour-long trampoline class three times a week. His coach said Royce came in 3 ½ years ago and said his goal was to still be on the trampoline when he turned 100. The coach thinks he’ll make that goal. The coach’s previous oldest client was 85.

Travel Notes –
Just returned from San Antonio where I learned that a 95-year-old man has a Toilet Seat Art Museum. Years ago he needed a plaque for mounting a deer head, I believe, and thought that a toilet seat was the right size and shape and would do just fine. Since then, he has been turning toilet seats into plaques, signs and art and displays them in his garage as the Barney Smith Toilet Seat Art Museum. He’s still working at making toilet seat art and will be glad to give you a guided tour of his museum. Just call ahead. Google for more information.