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Fitness

Do You Worry About Falling?

Image of a man falling
Falling can seriously damage your health

Falls In The USA

Do You Worry About Falling? Falls are common and costly, especially among Americans age 65 and older. But falls are preventable and do not have to be an inevitable part of ageing. Every second of every day, an older adult (age 65+) suffers a fall in the U.S.—making falls the leading cause of injury and injury death in this age group. One out of four older adults will fall each year in the United States, making falls a public health concern, particularly among the ageing population. About 36 million older adults fall each year—resulting in more than 32,000 deaths.

Falls In Europe

Approximately 36,000 older people are reported to be fatally injured from falls every year in the EU 1,443,000 fall-related injuries are admitted to hospital each year (40 x number of deaths) 2,314,000 older people attend emergency departments with fall-related injuries each year (65 x number of deaths)

How to Conquer the Fear of Falling

Do You Worry About Falling? Every year thousands of older adults suffer serious injuries from falls. Do you worry about losing your balance as you get older? It’s perfectly normal to worry about falling. And it does happen more often as people age. However, increasing your awareness bolstered by daily exercise can help.

How the fear of falling develops

Do You Worry About Falling? About one-third of older adults fall annually. So then most of those who fall develop a greater fear of falling. But, even those who don’t fall can develop fear if they have a friend who’s fallen. Because they know the consequences of the injuries and how that can impact their independence.

The role of balance issues

Fear may develop as people begin to lose control over their balance. Problems with vision, the inner ear, or the sense of touch in a person’s feet and ankles are often a cause. These balance issues also can lead to poor muscle control, doctors say.

Those with fear may have trouble dealing with obstacles. They may fixate on objects and have trouble seeing beyond or around them, so they’re more likely to trip. However, those without the fear may deal with things in their path with no problems. However, fear can creep in without you realising it, and grow into a problem. So then, try to be aware of how you feel, especially when you venture out.

Awareness counteracts negative thought patterns

Developing fear can set people up for negative thought patterns. Also, the uncertainty may lead people to withdraw from activities they enjoy. And doing so can worsen their balance and make participation even more difficult. “This all puts them at a greater risk of falling,” “It’s a vicious cycle that can limit people’s independence.” As a result, some people also tighten their muscles when they feel they’re about to fall. Besides, this stiffening can limit a person’s range of motion and make a fall more likely.

Exercise builds strength and confidence

The most important part of managing and alleviating your fear of falling is to start exercising regularly. This directly addresses balance issues. Also, daily exercise can build the strength you need to avoid future falls. Good activities for improving balance include:

  • Balance exercises
  • Tai chi.
  • Yoga.
  • Dance.
  • Stretching.

Doctors also recommend activities that get you out and walking in a group setting. “They build up your confidence so you can actively work on your balance.” But those with severe balance issues would likely benefit from personalized attention from a physical therapist. Furthermore, various devices can also help reduce your risk of falling, including:

  • Canes.
  • Walkers.
  • Reachers to help you pick up items without bending over.
  • Hand rails.
  • Grab bars.
  • Raised toilet seats. (few think of these but they are useful)

Improving lighting (including adding night lights) and removing loose carpets and rugs can also help prevent falls at home.

When to talk to your doctor

Image of a doctor to support the text seek medical advice
Always get medical advice if you are worried

If the fear of falling is difficult to manage, talk to your primary care physician. It’s especially important to do so if you experience the following:

  • Increased fearfulness.
  • Slow or cautious walk or gait.
  • Expressed discomfort with formerly enjoyed activities.
  • Wider gait.
  • Reduced head movement.

Ultimately, doctors say, it’s important for older adults to talk to their doctors about the risks and fear of falling. Your doctor can evaluate your personal fall risk so you can address the problem.

Having this discussion puts you on track with resources that might help you avoid falls. Do not be afraid to talk to your doctor if you are feeling fear about falling.

In Conclusion

Fear of falling is a real worry for many of us especially once you reach 70. However, many under 70 do fall and sustain serious injuries. So then, remember any exercise is better than no exercise. And it just gets better the more you exercise. But if the fear of falling is affecting you, and impacting your life, talk to your doctor, he can help. Never be afraid to seek help or advice, you know it makes sense.

Important Note *

Remember that everyone is different, and it is ultimately YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find what your body responds to. So please do your due diligence before trying anything new, including getting Medical Advice to ensure your safety and peace of mind.

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4 replies on “Do You Worry About Falling?”

Great article. I’m only 65 😊 and walk daily, do yoga and in pretty good shape but it’s good to know to keep it moving and to continue to be active.

Hi Deborah, I’m glad you liked the article, you have the right attitude, far too many older adults sit all day and then moan about their health, inactivity shortens life, and creates the conditions for disease to set in, I am so happy to have you onboard, thank you so much for the comment. Take care Ian

I am trying to improve my balance by walking more. Once I can walk for 15 minutes without problems, I will try and walk for 20 minutes. I walk my dog around the corner and I look forward to taking him for longer walks

Hi Diane, Walking is a great exercise, when you say, once you can walk for 15 minutes without problems, does that mean you have joint issues, or perhaps some weak leg muscles, or is weight a problem? please reply to this email, to help me understand what problems you are facing, so perhaps I can help you. thank you so much for your comment, I look forward to your reply, Ian

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