Free
Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Relationship Between Fear of Falling and Fall Precautions Taken by Community-Dwelling Older Adults
Author Affiliations
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Prevention and Intervention
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Relationship Between Fear of Falling and Fall Precautions Taken by Community-Dwelling Older Adults
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011515280. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO6078
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011515280. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO6078
Abstract

Date Presented 4/9/2016

This study explored and found positive correlations between fear of falling (FOF) and fall precautions and negative correlations between FOF and physical activity levels self-reported among older adults (N = 113). Occupational therapists should encourage maintained activity to mitigate the negative consequences of FOF.

Primary Author and Speaker: Erika Borska

Additional Authors and Speakers: Claudia G. Peyton, Yan-hua Huang, Taryn Erickson, Mary Groves

Contributing Authors: Nick Alvarez-Hett

PURPOSE: Explore the relationship between fear of falling (FOF) and the fall precautions taken by community-dwelling older adults. Additionally, the relationship between FOF and degree of fall precautionary behaviors with personal factors (i.e., age, previous number of falls, number of present chronic conditions, gender, living arrangement, and present activity levels) will be explored.
BACKGROUND: FOF is a widespread psychological symptom among older adults that occurs in 35%–55% of community-dwelling older adults, whether or not they have experienced a fall. FOF is an important area of concern because it often threatens older adults’ participation in occupations by leading them to avoid activities. Furthermore, FOF is risk factor for falls. Given the dramatic rise in the senior population and the detrimental consequences FOF can have on the lives of older adults, research on FOF and factors related to FOF is necessary.
DESIGN: To obtain the relationship between these variables, a correlational method was used because it aims to demonstrate relationships between variables being studied.
PARTICIPANTS: One hundred thirteen community-dwelling older adults, age 65 yr and older, with no severe cognitive limitations, were included.
METHOD: Research was conducted in public locations, such as the American Legion, Post 283, and the Long Beach ADHC, and via convenience sampling. The Falls Behavioural (FaB) Scale was used to measure the proactive fall precautions participants take to prevent a fall. Fear of falling levels will be measured by the FES–I. Participants were able to complete these surveys via online and/or face-to-face.
ANALYSIS: Descriptive statistics and frequency analysis were used to summarize participants’ demographics and responses to the questionnaires. Pearson product–moment correlations were used to examine the relationships between community-dwelling older adults’ fall precaution behaviors (as measured by the FaB Scale) and FOF levels (as measured by their FES–I scores). The relationship among FOF levels, fall precautions, and personal factors using continuous variables (i.e., participants’ age, number of falls, and numbers of chronic diseases/conditions) also used Pearson product–moment correlation.
RESULTS: Significant positive correlations between FOF levels and participants’ age, number of chronic conditions, previous falls, and degree of fall precautions taken were found. Significant negative correlations were also found between FOF and physical activity levels and self-reported health among participants.
DISCUSSION: This present study revealed that even though older adult participants had predominantly high FOF levels, nevertheless, the number of fall precautions they took and their self-reported health was also very high. Furthermore, the number of chronic conditions among participants was relatively low. This surprising finding is potentially attributable to the fact that participants maintained high levels of physical activity, despite having FOF.
IMPACT STATEMENT: Occupational therapists working with older adults should screen for physical activity engagement and level of fall precautions already taken in those who have FOF. If older adults can continue to remain active and engage in fall precautions as they begin to age or develop FOF, then this may be able to mitigate the negative consequences often associated with FOF, increase the health and quality of life of older adults, and lower the burden of health care costs from falls for society at large.