Older people need to be given more confidence in their mobility and balance, according to the results of a new study.
An article published in the British Medical Journal suggests that that the fear of falling among older people actually increases the likelihood of them having a fall.
It suggests that the mental fear of falling should be included in risk assessments in future.
More than 500 people aged between 70 and 90 took part in the study and found that a higher perceived fall risk has a significant impact regardless of a person's actual fall risk.
Further research is now needed into how to reduce this irrational fear without making older people dangerously overconfident, the authors claim.
Falling is a particular problem for the high numbers of older people who live with osteoporosis.
Data from the International Osteoporosis Federation suggests that one in three women and one in five men over 50 will suffer osteoporotic fractures as results of falls.
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