Falling — Facing the Fear
Many older people have a fear of falling triggered by such things as:
- An unfamiliar room, especially one with poor lighting
- Recognizing the threat of a fall to their independence
- Knowing what has resulted from other people's falls
Yet the physician in this video points out that people who self-limit their activities because of their fear of falling actually put themselves at greater risk, because the less active you let yourself become, the less steady you will be on your feet.
The older adults in this video have chosen to overcome their fears by staying active and taking simple steps to improve their safety such as:
- Rearranging cupboards to make things easier to reach
- Using assistive devices to increase their sense of security
- Taking their time (and letting faster people pass them by)
- Sharing a taxi with a friend
- Asking a neighbor to watch out for them
- Asking someone to literally lend a helping hand (or arm)
- Making exercise a regular part of their days to increase their confidence
As a result, the people portrayed have an enhanced quality of life. The physician notes that the human body is more powerful than most of us think, even in old age, and that we do have the power to change, to take charge of how we live our lives. The ultimate advice of this video? Be careful, but keep moving.
Applying the video to your own situation
With regard to yourself or your loved one:
- Do you have a fear of falling? Do you know where the fear comes from? (Your own experience, the experience of others?) Are there specific conditions that trigger it?
- Have you faced this fear and found ways of overcoming it? If so, what works for you?
- Are others (children, grandchildren, aides) fearful for you? More fearful than you think they need to be?
- Perhaps the most important advice in this video is that the key to avoiding falls is not to stay seated, but to keep moving. Do you find that makes sense? Do you exercise regularly and does it improve your confidence? (One important caveat: Seek your doctor's advice before beginning an exercise regimen.)
- One person in this video says that his morning walk "makes my day; the more I do, the better I feel." We are learning more and more about how exercise - especially getting outdoors - improves our mood as well our physical health. Have you found this is true? (Try it; you may be amazed!)
Adapted from: Fear of Falling: A Matter of Balance; Boston Univ. Health & Disability Research Institute, Boston, MA
For More on Full Video: www.terranova.org
The physician in this video points out that people who self-limit their activities because of their fear of falling actually put themselves at greater risk, because the less active you let yourself become, the less steady you will be on your feet.