Coincidentally, a week or so after I found that newspaper article, I found another one about an injury sustained to the grandfather of my husband's maternal grandmother. He was 71 at the time, a widower, lived with two of his sons, yet still was compelled to repair his barn. (The Minster Post, 11 Sep 1942).
Regardless of the time period and/or location, EVERYONE knows or has known an elderly person who physically does more than he or she probably should. My grandfather, who lived as a widower for nearly 20 years, was notoriously stubborn about nearly everything. Fortunately, out of blind luck, he was never seriously injured from trying to shovel his (hilly) driveway or anything like that. My maternal grandmother, however, had a terrible fall down her basement stairs when she was living alone and broke her hip. I think that incident helped to convince her to come and live with us. It's human nature to want to continue to be able to do the things you've always been able to do, and it's difficult to admit to yourself that your body isn't what it used to be, especially when your mind feels just as young as it ever did.
I believe that I am in a unique situation in which, as a relatively young person, I am able to understand how elderly people must feel when their reflexes get slower, muscles get weaker, joints get more painful, and/or their balance falters. As many of you know, I was born with a chronic vascular disease in my leg that progressively gets worse with age. Every few years, there is something physical that I find I cannot do (without pain) that I used to be able to do. I always go through the same mental process: I panic, I worry, I get angry, but then I ultimately accept it, because what choice do I have otherwise.? I try to direct my interests more towards those things that I still can accomplish. Most healthy, elderly people have not had a lifetime to come to terms with a failing body; either they come to that realization by suffering an accident OR they have to listen to their children, grandchildren, and doctors tell them what they can't do anymore. Hey, that would make me cranky, too. So, cut the old people some slack, let them know you love them and THAT'S why you don't want them to get hurt, and try to empathize with the underlying feelings of frustration behind all the outward stubbornness.