As the physical consequences of accidental falls in the elderly are well-researched, the long-term associations between falls and quality of life and related concepts are less known. The aim of this study was to prospectively examine the long-term relations between falls and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and life satisfaction (LS) over six years in the general elderly population. One thousand three hundred and twenty-one subjects (aged 60-93 years), from the general population in the south of Sweden, were included in a baseline assessment and a follow-up after six years. HRQoL was measured with the SF-12 and LS with the life satisfaction index A (LSI-A). The differences in mean scores between fallers at baseline (n=113) and non-fallers were statistical analyzed. Furthermore, the prediction of falls on the outcomes was analyzed using a multivariate linear regression model adjusted for multiple confounding factors. Fallers scored significant lower in HRQoL and LS at baseline and after six years, compared to non-fallers, especially in the SF-12 physical component (p=<0.001). In the linear regression analysis, one or more falls at the baseline predicted a significant reduction in the SF-12 physical component at the follow-up assessment (B-Coefficient -1.8, 95% CI -3.4 to -0.2). In conclusion, falls predict a long-term reduction in the physical component of HRQoL in the general elderly population. Over six years, fallers had a notable chronic lowered score in both HRQoL and LS, compared to non-fallers. This long-term depression of elderly fallers in these aspects may be more extent than previous assumed.
Keywords: Accidental falls; Elderly; Life satisfaction; Longitudinal studies; Prospective studies; Quality of life.
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