This phenomenological study explored and described the lived experiences of community-dwelling older adults regarding what falls and fear of falling meant to them, and how each entity influenced self-efficacy, functional performance, and degree of engagement in occupations. Thirty-one older adults, 58 to 94 years old, were interviewed one time at a senior center or continual care retirement community. All interviews were analyzed using QSR NUD*IST 6 software. Three main themes emerged: 1) highly fearful, and having their lives affected by the fear of falling; 2) having fallen, but rationalized their fears and modified their lives accordingly; and, 3) felt they had not fallen by their definition and remained active in place. Findings suggest the importance for practitioners to listen and understand their clients’ stories and perceptions of how they are selectively engaging in life’s activities while maintaining a personal perception of living an active life style.
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