The NY Times covered a topic recently that is all too familiar with anyone who is of "older" age...falling. Of course, while anyone, from a 6-month to a 94-year old, must deal with the consequences of an unprepared fall, the article looks at a study not necessarily about what happens if you do fall, but instead the psychology of falling. Interesting topic, especially for those with long term care needs.
The jist of the study:
But can exaggerated anxiety about falling — even if physiological tests show your risk to be low — increase the probability that you’ll actually fall?
As you move thru the story, the trend is clear.
People who are fearful do less, and that leads to deconditioning, to a loss of strength and balance,” he explained. Increasingly phobic about falling, sometimes unwilling to leave their homes, “they become preoccupied with the possibility. They catastrophize.
I have seen this first hand while visiting my two grandmothers. While they both are in their nineties, the one who is actually more frail physically, is often the one up and about more often. Mentally she's quite strong. On the other hand, my other grandmother who is more physically capable, is often sitting down more as she tends to worry far more often about being weak.
Don't jump to conclusions that falling is all mental though, as the article points out that falling is very very real...and it happens a lot. We see and hear about it all the time - time for long term care insurance maybe :).
You can read the entire article here - http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/01/fear-of-falling-2/#more-4927