I thought I would make some suggestions that I feel might be worth sharing with you that you may or may not find useful, but I myself have benefited from.
When bending down to reach for something, always look up to make sure you don’t hit your head as you straighten up. Sometimes you move a few inches to retrieve something you dropped and then bang hard into a cupboard or freezer door that was left open.
Hitting my head unexpectedly has happened to me on a number of occasions, and it’s not pleasant. Recently I picked up an eight-pound barbell on the floor and just missed smashing into a metal barbell that was protruding. I forgot to look!
After Havdala, I set up my Shabbat candles for next week. The reason is two-fold. I feel that I’m showing Hashem that I have bitachon and confident that I will be alive and well next Shabbat and thus am preparing for it. As I have written in previous columns, I have had cancer three times – the first diagnosis in 1993.
But secondly, on a more practical note, I find that no matter how late Shabbat starts, it’s always a rush to get everything done in time and having candles set up and ready to be lit is one thing less to do last minute.
Make sure when walking alone on Shabbat and Yom Tov, that you have your name and/or address in a pocket (if there is a eruv) since you won’t have your purse or phone with you. Were you to trip, or faint or knocked down and can’t communicate, emergency services wouldn’t know who to contact. There would be horribly worried loved ones wondering where you are. More importantly, there would be no one to advise medical personnel of existing medical issues and allergies, delaying crucial treatment. This applies to young and old alike. Young adults tend to think nothing untoward can happen to them. But it’s prudent to protect against the one in a 1,000,000 chance that they might experience a life-threatening mishap.
A friend on a Shabbat walk last year lost her balance because of an uneven pavement and broke both kneecaps. Luckily, she was with her husband. Although she was conscious, the shock and trauma of her injury made her forget crucial medical details.
Hence, I strongly recommend, that you not text while walking. I often have to bypass people on the sidewalk who are so engrossed in texting or looking at their phones, that they forget to look up and would bump into you and probably knock you down if you didn’t avoid them. If you too are glued to your phone’s screen, then you might not notice that you both are on a collision course.
I have to admit that I don’t always follow my own advice – distracted by a grandchild on a video call, and have almost walked into a pole or a parked car.
You also have to be aware that there are cars pulling out of driveways, and not walk into their path. You might have the right of way as a pedestrian but it is better be to be alive than right. If your eyes are glued to your screen, you might not be aware you are in the path of a car.
I emphasized to my children, and now grandchildren that they must pause while pedaling their bikes on the sidewalk that they must stop at each driveway, check that there are no moving cars and then continue.
In the past I have strongly recommended, that individuals both young and old, who live alone, set up what I call a safety chuvruta. That means creating a system where you communicate daily, within a 24-hour period, with another person. All it takes is a text, or email or phone call – a simple, brief hello. If 24 hours have passed with no response, then go and check on that person to make sure they are ok. You should have a means of getting into your friend’s place – either by you having a spare key or knowing the code to get in.
Sadly, we hear of people who ask police to do what is called a welfare check, but it is too late to help them. In some cases, perhaps the person could have been saved if help arrived sooner. I know of an individual who was found on their floor, paralyzed by a stroke, but was rescued in time, because they did not show up for the seder they were invited to. Had it been an ordinary day, she may have died. Another was found by her granddaughter after she didn’t answer her phone after a day and a half.
People tend to wrap up leftovers but often forget about them because they weren’t visible, shoved behind something else in the fridge. I would suggest that people get sticky strips and put them on bags or containers with a date written on them so people coming across something that was discovered in the back will have an idea of how old the food is. People, to be on the safe side, often toss edible food which can be a needless waste of money as we all know food is quite expensive right now.
With a bit of organization and mindfulness, we can prevent monetary loss and more importantly, a tragic loss of lives.