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Fear of Falling

hands holding a cane Fear of falling is common, even among those who have not had a fall. Fear of falling can increase your risk of a fall, but there are things you can do reduce your risk.

How Does Fear of Falling Increase Risk of Falling?
People who are afraid of falling may limit their physical activity or social activity – sometimes without meaning to. Limiting these activities can lead to, or worsen, muscle weakness, social isolation, anxiety or depression. All of these factors put people at higher risk for falling.

What You Can Do to Address Fear of Falling
The following survey will help you assess your fear of falling. (Download and print a larger version.) Answer the following questions:

fear of falling survey

Discuss the Results
  • Talk to your doctor: You can ask questions about falls and fall prevention during a doctor’s appointment. Your questions could help your doctor find a falls prevention plan for you.

  • Talk with your case worker, social worker, physical or occupational therapist, caregiver, family member or friend: Having support of friends, relatives and the community is important in addressing fear of falling.


More Ways to Reduce Your Fear of Falling
  1. Stay physically active. Feeling stronger physically will help you feel more confident in your movements. Exercise that improves balance, strength and coordination, such as Tai Chi, is especially helpful in preventing falls, but any physical activity helps. Talk with your doctor about the best exercise program for you.

  2. Stay socially active. It may be easier to talk with someone whose life experiences are similar to your own. The Partner to Partner program from the Department for the Aging can help you connect with someone in your community.

  3. Learn about fall prevention. Knowing about fall risks and the things you can do to prevent falls will help you regain confidence in doing daily activities safely.

  4. Make your home safer. First, find and fix home hazards that may put you at higher risk for falls.

  5. Prepare your home in case you do fall. Taking a few precautions can help you feel more confident and can help in an emergency. For instance, consider getting a personal emergency response system, enter emergency contact numbers on your phone’s speed dial, and, if you live alone, set up a daily check-in phone call with a family member or a friend.