I was working with a client recently who has developed a fear of falling. Because of this fear, he has been participating in less and less activities which has caused him to lose strength and mobility. In turn, it has worsened his balance and furthered his fear of falling. It is a vicious cycle that we see frequently in seniors and in people with a physical disability.
My plan with this client is to work on strengthening and balance exercises as well as practise parts of his walking pattern, all in a standing position. The more we do in a standing position in a safe environment, the more confidence is gained (along with strength and balance).
Other treatment options for people with a fear of falling are:
- walking aides such as a cane or walker
- walking obstacle courses, stepping over and onto items
- cardiovascular exercises to improve endurance
- outdoor walking
- setting up "mock up" environments where the client has had difficulty
As we age, it is important to add balance exercises into our exercise routine in order to decrease the chance of falling or developing a fear of falling.
For more information, Richard wrote a blog about decreasing the risk of falls in May: