How to Conquer Your Fear of Falling From Top Fall Prevention Experts

According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 4 seniors will suffer from a fall accident annually. Early prevention is key to reduce chances of injury.

It was Easter afternoon and Joy, 70, was enjoying herself spending time with family and her three young grandchildren. It was a day filled with food, fun and an Easter egg hunt, but as the day ended the families’ lives were changed forever. As Joy and her husband were leaving Joy missed the second step on her son’s porch. She fell and broke her right leg. After a month-long stay in the hospital and then a stay at a rehab facility, Joy became sedentary for fear of falling again.

Over the next 3 years, she became depressed and eventually experienced congestive heart failure several times. As her health declined, she spent her final days in a nursing home.

The Fear Of Falling Can Be Dangerously Debilitating

Unfortunately, stories like Joy’s are not uncommon, but they are preventable. The fear of falling can develop after suffering a fall injury or as a person ages. This leads one to be less mobile and less social. This lifestyle can also lead to depression from isolation and other health issues. A fear of falling can also actually cause a fall to happen. Being nervous when moving or walking and not using muscles and joints regularly can cause a fall. By taking early prevention measures you can reduce your chances of falling and lessen your fears.

Tips From Fall Prevention Experts To Reduce Fear Of Falling

Where physicality meets practicality, we have brought together two of nation’s Top Fall Prevention Experts. They will teach you simple ways on how to reduce (and hopefully eliminate) your fear of falling. Also, provide helpful tips on maintaining mobility and independence.

The Fall Prevention Lady teaches evidence-based balance and strengthening classes that include multi-sensory training to improve balance and prevent falls, and Stop the Slip Author, national speaker and CEO of the accessibility company Handi Products, Thom Disch have provided tips and advice on how to overcome a fear of falling.

The Fall Prevention Lady

A little bit of fear is a good thing but when the fear of falling begins to interfere with your activities of daily living, then we have a problem. The best way to break this cycle of fear is to do exercises that are suitable for your ability level.

In other words, do exercises that you can do correctly. Completing a multi-sensory exercise routine will give you inner confidence while improving your balance. When you feel safe, you can move better and keep your balance better.

Vision drills have an immediate impact on balance, inner ear activation drills directly impact your balance and joint mobility results in stronger muscles. Science proves it. The Fall Prevention Lady teaches it.

You also want to engage in physical movement exercises that increase lower body strength and lower body flexibility.

 

 

  • Do chair stands and side steps every day.
  • Do seated hamstring stretch 2-3 times per day.
  • If you don’t want to trip over your toes, lift your toes 20 times while sitting at your desk
  • If you want to get up easier from your chair easier, lift your heels off the ground 20 times while sitting at your desk.

Movement is life. It’s time to break your fears of moving and start living.

Thom Disch, Author of Stop the Slip

Now that we have reviewed ways to physically reduce your fear of falling, let’s explore how to reduce your fears of falling by being more aware of the world around you with Stop the Slip author Thom Disch.

Thom Disch, Award Winning Author of Stop the Slip

Let’s Jump Back To Our Lead Story

What could have been done to help Joy avoid the fall and injury that changed her life? Falls and fall injuries are complicated events. Falls don’t just happen there are warning sign and actions that we can take to minimize the risk of falling. We don’t know enough about the situation to determine the cause of this fall but we do know what causes most falls so we can start there. Some of these questions/observations are simply to increase your awareness and make you more cautious others require you to take action to make the area safer.

  1. As she was leaving was Joy distracted by events so she did not watch her step?
  2. Was Joy on any medications that could have affected her balance?
  3. Did Joy consume any alcohol?
  4. Was there a slippery spot on the porch steps?
  5. Was there a handrail and if so was Joy holding onto the handrail when she slipped?
  6. What type of shoes was Joy wearing? (Flip flops and high heels are more dangerous)

As you can see from this list just a little bit of forethought could have prevented the accident.

Customizing Your Home For Your Safety

First, examine all rooms in your home and outside for fall hazards that can be corrected and make note of the larger modifications to be made, such as grab bars near your bed or a super pole next to your favorite chair. Removing clutter from the home and keeping items off the floor can also greatly reduce your risk of tripping and falling.

Avoiding clutter, keeping items you use daily within arms reach, adding grab bars and non-slip treads in and outside of your can help reduce chances of falling.

Keeping water off the bathroom floor, having night lights, and removing slippery rugs are just a few ways to make your home safer.

In Thom’s book Stop the Slip he has a fall prevention checklist for every room in and outside of your home with safety modification suggestions.

Keep items that you will need to use on a daily basis within arms reach. Making accommodations to your specifics needs wherever possible will help to keep you safer. Thankfully, accessibility products can now blend in with the decor of any home.

How You Wear Your Clothes

Pay attention to how your clothing and shoes fit. Wearing clothes that are too large can cause you trip and fall. Appropriate footwear should also be worn depending on the activity and weather. Make sure the shoe is fitted correctly to your foot. Flip flops are the most dangerous shoe you can wear due to the lack of support for your foot. I would suggest they be avoided altogether unless they can be strapped to your foot.

Fall Prevention Pet Safety

Dog training classes can help your dog to stop jumping and reduce your chances of being knocked over. 

We love our furry best friends, but they can be a fall hazard. Often times people will trip over their pets if they don’t see them on the floor or if the animal runs under their feet. Having your pets wear a bell on their collar can be helpful in knowing their whereabouts and night lights can help them to be seen in the evening hours. If your pet has a tendency to jump, consider training classes. People can also get easily tripped up on their pet’s leashes. Using a retractable leash can help avoid slack. Dog walking services are great, especially for those who have more than one pet. Or taking your pets out one at a time can help reduce your chances of a fall injury.

Medications, Alcohol and Side Effects

Being aware of the medications (even natural herbs and vitamins) you are taking and/or your alcohol consumption, their side effects, and how they affect your balance is very important as this can make a huge difference in your reaction time and overall cognition. As always, use responsibly and discuss with your doctor.

Invest in Monitoring Systems

Having a plan in place in case of an emergency can help ease concerns. Since the days of the large monitoring necklaces with an emergency button, there are now more discrete options to help ensure that help is on the way.

Fall Detection Bracelets https://www.wearable-technologies.com/2016/11/fall-detection-bracelets/ are an excellent alternative for those who live alone and do not want to wear a large monitoring system and can notify family and the police when a person has fallen.

Bed Sensors https://www.tekscan.com/applications/bed-monitoring-system-flexiforce-sensors can detect the patterns of when a person is getting out and in bed and will send an alarm signaling when they have or have not been in bed for long periods of time.

Kinesis QTUG™ https://www.kinesis.ie/qtug/ – has created mobility and falls risk assessment technology to help prevent falls for those who are at a greater risk.

Using The Right Mobility Device For You

Be mindful of suggestions to use a cane or walker. While it is ideal to be able to move around freely, listening to your body and what it needs to be safe and comfortable will benefit you in the long run. If you need the additional help with a device, walker, or cane do not feel ashamed or embarrassed to use it when you have to, even if it is most of the time. On the other hand, if you find these devices are getting in the way of you being able to get around, talk with your doctor about other options until you feel comfortable.

Staying Interactive With Others

Interacting with people can help to keep your mind stay sharp and reduces isolation. Join a local seniors group or take classes at your local library to help keep you active. Reach out to your community center for more and what they have to offer for seniors.

Don’t Fall For It, Break the Fear and Start Living!

We cannot prevent all falls from happening, but taking early prevention measures will help ease concerns. Making small changes over time can help to make a huge impact on your health and safety.

For more tips on how to prevent falls and reducing your fear of falling check out the Fall Prevention Lady’s online “Balance Training 101” course, her ebook “Don’t Fall Down” or her seated DVD series, “Take 5 to Exercise” at www.thefallpreventionlady.com. Check out Thom’s book Stop the Slip available on Amazon, and his Stop the Slip Fall Prevention Line of home products to help keep you on your feet.

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