Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths and the third leading cause of poor health among the senior population, it makes perfect sense that “basiphobia” — otherwise known as fear of falling — is at the top of a lot of individual’s phobia list.
Unfortunately, this can lead to a fear of walking, standing and living your life comfortably — all of which actually increase your chances of falling. What a catch-22.
Many physicians used to think that people who’d already taken a spill or two, even if they weren’t injured, began to develop a fear of falling. However, research published in Age and Ageing indicates that a fear of falling is actually quite common among older adults. Why you might ask? The connection between falling and loss of independence is pretty obvious. And even if a fall itself isn’t fatal, a broken bone, brain injury or other serious injury that results from a fall very well could be. If you are over the age of 65 and fearful of falling, chances are you’re not alone. Many seniors report they’re fearful because they’ve already experienced a fall, or had a friend or family member who experienced a fall. Something as simple as a stumble off the curb while taking a walk could cause immobility and loss of independence. That’s a lot to be afraid of and, for patients who’ve had a stroke, cancer or for those who live with a life-altering condition, research suggests a fear of falling is shockingly even more prevalent. If your risks are high (perhaps you take prescription medications that affects your balance, strength and gait), then you and your physician should develop a plan to reduce those risks. If your risks are low (you exercise regularly, strength train and take few, if any medications) take some preventative measures, but continue to live your life. THE BEST way to prevent a fall and to get over your fear of falling is to join Nate’s beginner or advanced “Bay Balance” program at Carolina Bay. These classes help train your somatosensory and vestibular balance by strengthening the hips, knees and ankle strategies while practicing static and dynamic balance-specific exercises. Participating residents have seen excellent results and are more confident on two feet than ever before.