Author(s): Braun BL
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Falls are a major cause of death and disability among older adults. Fall-related knowledge among community-dwelling elderly individuals, however, is unknown. The purposes of this study were to assess the perception of falling as a health problem, to determine the perceived importance of fall-related risk factors, and to identify personal characteristics and attitudes associated with perceived importance of fall-related risk factors among community-dwelling elderly people. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Resident council meeting attendees in 3 apartment buildings for elderly persons completed a self-administered survey (N=120). Items assessed factors influencing falls by the respondents (n=52) or falls among elderly persons (n=68). The data were analyzed by chi-square test, analysis of variance, and linear regression. RESULTS: Falling during the previous month was reported by 10.1\% of the subjects. Eighty-six percent of the subjects considered falling to be a preventable health problem and viewed falling as a moderately important concern compared with other health concerns. Exterior environmental factors such as pavement conditions and handrails were perceived as most likely to cause falls. The perceived personal likelihood of falling due to these risk factors was markedly lower compared with the perceived risk for other elderly persons. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: The community-dwelling elderly individuals studied considered falls to be preventable and understood the importance of fall-related risk factors, but they did not consider themselves to be susceptible to falling.
This article was published in Phys Ther
and referenced in Journal of Physiotherapy & Physical Rehabilitation