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Are you afraid of falling?

By Rochelle Brenner


The fear of falling is called basophobia -- the fear is mostly thought of as falling from heights such as ledges and upper floors of buildings.


But in day to day life, falling from where you are standing is a real danger that gets more complex with associated risks as people age.


After launching Action Karate’s Active Balance program, the anecdotal response from experts was fast and affirming:


From an EMS emergency responder: “We transport fall victims all the time. This is important.”


From an elder care professional: “The number one fear of residents is falling. The number one fear of administration is falling.”


A nurse: “It’s the doorway to decline. It’s what everyone fears.”


There is help. Rooting yourself to the ground and creating a downward force and stable stance improves balance.


Gaining balance is not the same as strength and flexibility, but it is a core function that can be improved with training.


In martial arts, one of the skills we teach is balance. They are taught techniques for reducing injuries when falling, reacting quickly when they get wobbly, what movements put them off-balance and which ones reestablish it.


These are skills the world needs, particularly the older population.


“That’s how you lose your independence. Talk about fear- it’s cooking and driving, then fall and break a wrist or hip, it’s rehab and straight to the nursing home,” said a friend who used to work at a memory care facility.


Falls are also expensive. A study reported by the National Library of Medicine said: “Fall-related ED visits resulted in an estimated 860,000 hospitalizations, 62% of which involved individuals aged 65 years and older. An estimated $2.45 billion per year was paid for fall-related ED visits.”


To schedule an Active Balance class for yourself, a loved one, or a facility, send an email to actionkaratema@gmail.com.


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