Dark red scabs and scrapes on his knees were evidence that my dad fell off his bike with some frequency. He never broke a bone. But one day his bicycle disappeared from the garage. The decision had been made: It was too risky for him to continue riding. My mother, on the other hand, has been hospitalized for bone repairs after falling. She bravely continues walking, but always with someone present or an alert button dangling from a silk cord around her neck. After falling a few times, you lose confidence and live with varying degrees of fear of falling again. Even I, 30 years younger than my parents, hesitate to play tennis again now that my knees have buckled a few times on the stairs. My doctor says if I keep up with my physical therapy knee exercises, tennis should be no problem. Still ... I envision my body crumpling on the court, a fall that would result in new painful problems, perhaps even serious limitations. Fear of falling is real.
Check out a good article, "Fear of Falling: Preventing Falls and Fear," by Sharon Roth Maguire in Today's Caregiver at Caregiver.com. She addresses four major fall risks to reduce. If you take preventive measures, hopefully, as your fall risk lessens, your fear will lessen, too.