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Care of the older person
Fear of falling: a hidden burden with or without a history of falls
  1. Keith D Hill
  1. School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Keith D Hill, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth WA 6845, Australia; Keith.Hill{at}

Statistics from

Commentary on: Makino et al. Impact of fear of falling and fall history on disability incidence among older adults: Prospective cohort study. Geriatric Psychiatry 2018;33:658-62.

Implications for practice and research

  • Fear of falling (FOF) is common, even in the absence of recent falls. Health professionals should assess older people who present with falls, near falls or unsteady gait for the presence of FOF, and if identified, exercise or cognitive–behavioural intervention should be considered.

  • Future research should evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to address FOF on preventing or minimising development of incident disability.


FOF is common, being reported in 20%–85% of people aged >65.1 FOF is often under-reported, and this may be influenced by the method of evaluation. Assessment of FOF can be by asking a single question (eg, are you afraid of falling), …

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