Objective: To determine the extent to which older people are willing to engage in different falls prevention activities, and how this may vary in different sectors of the older population.
Methods: A survey sent to patients aged over 54 in ten general practices in the Southampton, Bristol and Manchester areas of the UK in 2006 yielded 5,440 respondents. The survey assessed willingness to attend classes of strength and balance training (SBT), carry out SBT at home, or accept support to reduce home hazards. Participants were asked their gender, age, education, home tenure, ethnic group, and how often they had fallen during the past year.
Results: Over 60% of the sample would consider doing SBT at home and 36.4% said they would definitely do SBT at home. Only 22.6% would definitely attend group sessions and 41.1% would definitely not attend. Older age, recent falls and lower socioeconomic status were associated with a greater willingness to carry out SBT at home (but not in classes) and accept help with home hazards.
Conclusions: Health promotion programmes should give prominence to home-based performance of SBT as a method of encouraging the entire older population to engage in falls prevention, including those most in need.