Other than exercising? Another way for fear of falling…

Mr. Tai-Wa LIU is a Senior Lecturer at the Open University of Hong Kong.  In this blog, he shares a recent Age and Ageing publication looking at the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy in reducing fear of falling and improving balance among older people.

Whenever you are afraid of losing balance in doing something, it means you might have fear of falling.  For example, a baby first tries to stand on its own, or a kid learns cycling.  We all have had this fear of falling, especially in situations where we might get hurt or be embarrassed in public. This fear is normal and self-protective in nature, but the reality is that older people with excessive levels of this fear could lead to restricted activity of daily living, limited social participation and physical deconditioning.  Eventually, it could lead to increased fall risks and form the vicious cycle of “fear of falling and actual falls”.

For some reasons, such as deteriorated physical ability or previous fall experiences, fear of falling is common among older people.  The origin of this excessive level of fear is believed to be psychological and stems from the impaired balance confidence and over-pessimistic view regarding the consequences of falls.  Continue reading