Fall-associated difficulty with activities of daily living in functionally independent individuals aged 65 to 69 in the United States: a cohort study

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Jan;61(1):96-100. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12071.


Objectives: To determine whether falling would be a marker for future difficulty with activities of daily (ADLs) that would vary according to fall frequency and associated injury.

Design: Longitudinal analysis.

Setting: Community.

Participants: Nationally representative cohort of 2,020 community-living, functionally independent older adults aged 65 to 69 at baseline followed from 1998 to 2008.

Measurements: ADL difficulty.

Results: Experiencing one fall with injury (odds ratio (OR) = 1.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.29-2.48), at least two falls without injury (OR = 2.36, 95% CI = 1.80-3.09), or at least two falls with at least one injury (OR = 3.75, 95% CI = 2.55-5.53) in the prior 2 years was independently associated with higher rates of ADL difficulty after adjustment for sociodemographic, behavioral, and clinical covariates.

Conclusion: Falling is an important marker for future ADL difficulty in younger, functionally independent older adults. Individuals who fall frequently or report injury are at highest risk.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / rehabilitation