Seniors and the Fear of Falling

According to the Journal of Age and Aging (July 2009 issue) titled “Falls and Fear of Falling: Burden, Beliefs, and Behaviors” estimated the frequency of recent falls and prevalence of fear of falling among adults aged 65 and older.

The data were obtained from a cross-sectional, list-assisted, random-digit dialed telephone survey of U.S. adults from 2001 to 2003. Participants consisted of 1,709 non-institutionalized adults aged 65 or older who spoke either English or Spanish.

An estimated 3.5 million, or 9.6%, of older adults reported falling at least once in the previous 3 months. About 36.2% of all older adults said they were moderately or very afraid of falling.

Few older adults who fell in the previous 3 months reported making any changes to prevent future falls. The high prevalence of falls and fear of falling among U.S. older adults is of concern. Both can result in adverse health outcomes including decreased quality of life, functional limitations, restricted activity, and depression.

Older adults’ fear of falling and their reluctance to adopt behaviors that could prevent future falls should be considered when designing fall prevention programs. Such examples of fall prevention programs might include:

  • Tai Chi -slow motion routines that groups of people practice together every morning in parks around the world.
  • The Otago Exercise Program -The OEP helps to stop you falling if you have weak legs or impaired balance. It has been shown to reduce your chances of having a fall by 35%. It also reduces the severity of injuries from falls.
  • Stepping on : building confidence and reducing falls, a community-based program for older people by Lindy Clemson & Megan Swann

While a medical alert system cannot prevent a fall from happening, studies have shown that the quicker help arrives after an emergency the better chances of a full recovery.  So, be sure to practice good preventative measures in conjunction to having a good medical alert in case a fall or other medical emergency should occur.

If you’d like more information about medical alert systems and their benefits to seniors, caregivers, or their family members please call the companies nationwide toll free number 1-800-595-0718 or e-mail to [email protected]

*information and statistics compiled from the CDC website


  1. Charlie Kimball says:

    An elderly woman in Texas was found after being alone for 2 days after she fell. The video news story is heartbreaking. She should have had a system.

  2. It is crazy how confusing medicare can be. Does it cover these systems? go to to learn more about medicare and what it covers and not.

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