Household hazards…Treading carefully in vacation homes…Mindfulness is the key,,,

Standing at the low railing outside the master bedroom illustrates how one could fall over this railing to the brick floor or fountain below. Frightening!

Over the past year, we’ll have spent five and a half months living in houses 100 years old or more as here in
Marrakech and last summer in Italy, a 300-year-old property.
In each of these cases, we’ve experienced a similar situation, dangerous steps, and uneven stairways. What frequently causes steps to be dangerous, in their unexpected placement and unevenness in both height and depth in a stairway.

While living in Boveglio, Italy last summer, we’d posted photos of uneven stairways, but also of unexpected steps along a long hallway, a dangerous tripping hazard. Add the fact that if one fell they could easily bang their head on the stone or brick walls or floor adding to the risk of serious or fatal injuries. For photos and details of the tripping hazards in the old house in Italy, please click here.
When booking Dar Aicha, the riad in Marrakech, we anticipated that there would be many steps throughout the
riad, some uneven, others unexpected. We were right. They are everywhere.

The extra-long draperies kept closed to keep the sandflies out also creates a potential tripping hazard if one isn’t mindful when exiting.

From our perspective, unexpected steps are more hazardous than uneven stairways. Why? When going up and down stairways, aware of the risks, we tend to be more careful in general, holding onto a railing or wall if no railing is available while stepping gingerly.

Simply leaving one room to walk into another is often done without thought, resulting in tripping. The ultimate key to avoid tripping lies in a single word: mindfulness.

This has been a learning experience for me, the proverbial “bull in a China shop.” For Tom, having walked on uneven areas while working on the railroad for over 42 years, he has ingrained mindfulness. 

This is the stairwell from the main floor to the second floor. Although not easy to detect in this photo, the stone steps are high and shallow not fully fitting one’s shoe as each step is taken.

Luckily, I’ve had Tom at my side to “educate” me since the onset of our travels. When we walk, he always says, “step,” “two steps,” etc. ensuring I’m noticing what’s upcoming. With my camera in hand when we’re out, I’m often oblivious to uneven walkways, steps, and stairways.

In the process, I’ve become more mindful, able to easily maneuver throughout the riad, constantly aware of the possibility of tripping. Of course, this is not to say a fall is impossible or unlikely. 

One area of major concern while living in Dar Aicha has been when stepping outside of the master bedroom onto the second level balcony. The heavy drapes covering the doorway, necessary to be closed at all times to keep sandflies out, have two feet of excess material at the bottom, in itself a tripping hazard. 

There are two shallow steps to maneuver into and out of the master bedroom. 

With the two steps to navigate with a wide landing in between, required to get from the bedroom to the hallway, it’s an accident waiting to happen. From the photos we’ve posted here today, it may be difficult to determine how easily one could trip while coming out of the bedroom, either on the drapes or on either of the two steps resulting in being flung over the railing to the brick floor below in the open courtyard. Yikes! This possibility has scared us. 

Falls are the leading cause of household deaths worldwide. When adding the injuries incurred inside and outdoors one’s home from tripping and falling, it proves that even in one’s familiar surroundings the hazards are rampant. We’ve all seen the possible debilitation of a senior citizen’s health when breaking a hip from a fall, a common occurrence. 

As we’ve mentioned in the past, “Fear is a powerful motivator.” Maintaining the fear may be responsible for maintaining mindfulness.  Each time either of us steps outsides the bedroom door, we do so with the utmost of care. 

In this photo, the short distance from the two steps necessary to exit the master bedroom is evident which has prompted us both to be extremely careful.

With ten days remaining until we leave Marrakesh, we remind ourselves not to become careless by taking our newfound familiarity with the layout of the riad for granted. 

Another area of concern is when walking in the souks and in restaurants. There are dangerous steps and uneven stairways in almost every restaurant we’ve visited. Here again, we both tend to mention “step” to one another everywhere we may go, continuing to do so as we continue in our worldwide travels.

The final step is in the lower portion of this photo a short distance from the doorway, too close to the short railing.

Having the experience of being injured when the steps collapsed under our feet in Belize on the night of our anniversary on March 7, 2013, no fault of our own, we’ve upped our mindfulness. Please click here for the link to the story and photos from that date.

Please share this post with your family members and friends as a reminder to be mindful wherever they may walk and perhaps together we may prevent an injury or worse. 

Photo from one year ago today, May 5, 2013:
No photos were posted on this particular date.  In this short period as we progress further into our travels, we won’t have many dates without photos taken, as we’ve become more and more diligent in taking new photos for our daily postings. 

Yesterday, we didn’t include a photo from one year ago which we’ve included below when we’d instead posted a tribute to a dear friend that we sadly lost.

Photo from one year ago today, May 5, 2013:

The Palais Longchamp in Marseilles, France which we visited on May 4, 2013.

For the link of the story and more photos when we visited Marseilles, France on May 4, 2013, please click here.

For the link of the story from May 5, 2013, please click here.