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Managing your Fear of Falling

Anyone can have a fall. You are definitely not alone. Falling can be very frightening and may lead to a loss of confidence, restriction of activities, anxiety and worries. Fear of falling, whether you have had a fall or not, is very common.

The more worried you become, the less likely you are to keep active which, in turn, makes you more likely to fall again. You may find that you are more careful with your walking, start to slow down your pace or you begin to leave the house left often. These are very common behaviours and it may mean you’ve lost some of your confidence when getting around. It is important to remember that there are lots of things that you can do to reduce your risk of falling and improve your confidence. Working through the self-assessment tool on this website is a great start. 

Having a falls plan in place can help to reduce anxiety and will reduce the likelihood of being on the floor for a long time.

If you are hurt or unable to get up:

  • Summon help by using your pendant alarm, calling out, crawling to a telephone, using a mobile phone, emergency pull cords (if available), or banging on a wall
  • Make sure there are blankets in each room so that you can keep warm
  • Move to a softer surface if you are able
  • Change position regularly if you are able

If you are unhurt and feel you can get up:

  • Rest a few moments, take a few deep breaths and allow the shock to ease

  • Roll over onto your hands and knees

  • Crawl to a stable piece of furniture such as an armchair and use this to assist you with getting up, or get someone to bring something to you

  • Raise your stronger leg, lean some weight onto your arms, and push through your leg, and arms to raise yourself

  • Turn and sit on a chair or bed and rest for a while

If you cannot kneel to get up, bottom shuffle/ bottom walk to the bottom of the stairs and gradually raise you bottom up the steps, until you are high enough to stand.

Alternatively, if you have no stairs, gradually raise up onto furniture by pulling the sofa cushion off the base, sit on it, then raise yourself onto the sofa base, then move across to the sofa with the cushion. Rest before you try and stand up.

If you are worried about falling when you are alone at home, you might want to get a pendant alarm to enable you to call for help even if you can’t reach the telephone.

There are also telecare sensors available such as falls detectors for people who would not be able to press a pendant alarm.

Alternatively carry a mobile phone with you at all times- but keep it charged and make sure you know how to use it.

Remember

  • If you have had a fall, try not to worry about it too much. There are plenty of things you can do to minimise your risk of it happening again
  • If your worries are not going away, try talking to someone about it
  • Try relaxation exercises if you feel anxious. This may include listening to music, reading a book, deep breathing exercises or imaging a pleasant and relaxing place or scene
  • Set yourself small goals to build back up to your usual activities – e.g. walk for a short distance first
  • Think about all the times you haven’t fallen and try to maintain your usual levels of activity

Complete a self-assessment and develop an action plan