A Thoughtful First Step

When people talk about the importance of staying active we tend to assume they’re referring to something physical—but what about the significance of what’s going on inside our heads? When does hazy forgetfulness pose more of a risk than simply misplaced glasses? What about the need to maintain cognitive acuity?

As it turns out, not only are the two important, they’re interrelated as well. As the NY Times outlines in a recent piece centering on a Wichita assisted living facility, the interplay between the two—physical wellness and mental clarity—may be of heightened importance to seniors looking to prevent falls. 

Some of the facility’s methods are familiar—word and color associations and flashing patterns—but the context may feel unusual. Rarely do we think of such exercises as relating to our ability to stay upright. “[They’re] trying to train people to concentrate on what they’re doing as well as retain their balance,” said Robert Topp, a professor of nursing at Marquette University. “I think [they’re] onto something really important where it comes to falls prevention.”

The more we learn about the mind-body relationship the more complex it seems to grow, but the idea that the thoughts in our heads impact what’s happening at our feet is hardly surprising. The relevant takeaway perhaps, is that we would be remiss at any point—in our pursuit of wellness, in our approach to product design, in our perpetual quest for better solutions to everyday problems—to confuse The Way Things Are with How They Should Be.

Hal Ebbott