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How to Overcome Your Fear of Falling

Injuries caused by accidental falls are a major health issue for seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of elderly injury and reports from an American Public Health Association study showed that about 20% of falls cause serious injuries such as a hip fracture or head trauma. Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries, which are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among persons aged ≥65 years – and the age-adjusted rate of deaths from falls is increasing.

With the statistics bringing awareness to how dangerous a fall can be, it is common for the facts to also have an overwhelming psychological effect on seniors: fear. For instance, seniors who had an unfortunate tumble can develop a fear of falling again, which can reduce their quality of life and desire or ability to do regular activities like exercising, cleaning, enjoying the outdoors, or playing with their grandchildren. This reduction in normal physical activity can develop into a habit, causing an elderly person’s mental and physical health to deteriorate, upping the risk of falling again.

Now that you know the facts, it’s time to focus on prevention! The best way to overcome your fear of injury is by empowering yourself to take on a different approach – mentally and physically. Add these tried and true approaches to your “healthy living arsenal” for increased confidence and improved health:

Change Your Mindset

As the great Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” Overcoming your fear of falling first begins with believing that you have the power to take control of your health. Educating yourself (just as you are doing in reading this post!) gives you the knowledge you need to make a plan and the tools to take action. As a result, you will begin to see that fear slip away, but you must first get out of your own way.  

See Your Physical Therapist About Any Current Pain or Previous Falls

Educating yourself includes making regular visits to your Physical Therapist to address any new or pre-existing pain and to get your questions answered. Your physical therapist is your 1:1 guide for staying safe – confide in them about your fear of falling and they will work with you to create an injury prevention plan that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine

Get Proper Nutrition

What you eat and drink, also known as fuel, affects how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future. On a healthy day, you may feel lively, strong, and ready to take on the world! But on an unhealthy day, you may start to feel weak and fatigued – this is a result of not consuming the proper fuel that keeps your body running at its highest capacity. Your fuel choices affect the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your moods and physical aptitudes, like balance and muscle strength. These are all so important in you staying on your feet, so get in the habit of eating a healthy, balanced diet (based on your personal dietary needs) and drink plenty of water so you can feel good every day!

Improve Your Physical Health

A healthy diet and physical activity go hand in hand. Sticking to a daily exercise routine reduces the risk of a fall by helping you maintain strong muscles, bones, and tissue, increase your energy for greater balance and a stronger gait and develop better reflexes in the face of unexpected incidents. The powerful quality of exercise is that there are several exercise options based on your current fitness level – talk to your doctor or physical therapist about customizing a fitness plan fit for your goals and lifestyle.

Make Improvements to Your Environment

As you reduce the number of hazards lurking in your environment, it causes a domino effect and your risk of injury and fear will also decrease. The key is to get ahead of the problem, using your current physical condition as a springboard for what you may need to improve in your environment. Some common changes include better lighting, bathtub/shower handrails, fitted clothing, non-slip shoes, and widening door frames. Conduct your own home safety assessment to fill in the missing gaps in your safety plan.

Seniors who do the work to overcome their fear of injury cannot believe how much more quality of life they gain, both physically and mentally! They often feel like they should have started sooner. Now it’s your turn – start today!

Do you have a story about how you overcame your fear of falling? We’d love to hear from you! Share with us in the comments below.

Comments: 1

  1. Posted by Alexander Jacques Sabucido 04 Nov 2019 at 10:35 pm

    The tips in this post would be a huge help for you to overcome fear of falling. This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing this great article.

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