Fear of falling from a daily life perspective; narratives from later life

Authors


Marianne Mahler, Local District Department, Health & Care, Indre By/ Østerbro, Serridslevvej 2A, DK 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark.
E-mail: Marianne.mahler@suf.kk.dk

Abstract

Scand J Caring Sci; 2012; 26; 38–44
Fear of falling from a daily life perspective; narratives from later life

Fear of falling is a well-known condition in later life. The aim of this study was to illuminate the experiences and the meaning of fear of falling in a daily-life context. The method used was a qualitative study inspired by interpretive phenomenology. In narrative interviews, five community-dwelling women over 80 years of age told about their fear of falling from a daily-life perspective. The overall thematic analysis resulted in three main themes: the meaning of managing daily life necessities; keeping in contact with the outside; living with fear. The findings showed that to live with fear of falling was to discipline daily life, and to learn to live with the challenge of a vulnerable bodily condition and of losing control at different levels: from falling, from incontinence, from dirt and from the stigma of being in a humiliating situation. The women created a perception of independence while they were dependent on help and community care and on news from the outside. At an existential level, they coped with their fear by strengthening their will. The conclusion was that the older women studied accepted the condition of fear of falling. They shared the ability to cope in various ways with the limitations of their bodily capacity and their imbalance.

Ancillary