Fear of falling: links between imbalance and anxiety
This review examines the relationship between unsteadiness, falling and anxiety, and their combined impact on the lives of older people. Over one in four people over 69 fall each year, and a higher proportion of those over 74. Although only one in ten incur serious injury as a direct result of the fall, fear of falling can often lead not only to psychological distress but also to restriction of activity and an unnecessary and undesirable loss of independence. Naturally, symptoms of unsteadiness constitute a key risk factor for falling. As many as one in three older people have suffered from unsteadiness and/or dizziness at some time. Like falling, dizziness and unsteadiness are also associated with distress and restriction of activity.
c1 Address for correspondence: L.Yardley, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK.