Preventive care Your Health & Wellness

Five ways to ease your fear of falling

Written by Dianne Lange
Editor’s note: According to the National Institutes of Health, more than one in three older adults falls each year and the likelihood of falling increases with age. More than 1.6 million of them end up in the emergency room, with bone fractures and other serious injuries. Dianne Lange of Senior Planet offers this advice to help prevent falls:

Having a fear of falling is a slippery slope. It turns out that being afraid you’re going to fall increases the risk that you will take a tumble, even when you’ve never fallen before. Whether your fear of falling is due to physical or medical issues, or you’re just anxious, there are things you can do to help yourself stay upright:

1. Do exercises for balance and strength. You want to make your legs stronger, improve your balance and raise your confidence level.

  • Tai Chi is a good example of a practice that does all three.
  • Yoga is strengthening and has many poses that improve balance, some of which you can do seated.
  • There are also balance exercises that you can do almost any where — including while you’re standing in line at the grocery store.

2. If you’re taking medications, have your health care provider or pharmacist review them so you’ll know if any cause dizziness, make you sleepy or might cause you fall for any other reason.

3. Have your vision checked.

4. At home, put away anything you could trip over on stairs and paths that you often walk, so you won’t have to worry. You can find tips on making your home safe on the CDC website.

5. Check out your shoes. The American Podiatric Association has a 1-2-3 test that can help you evaluate whether your shoes are optimal for balance.

This post is excerpted from “5 Ways to Ease Your Fear of Falling” on Senior PlanetTo read the entire article, click here.

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