Purpose: The impact of vertigo and dizziness on healthy ageing, and especially on participation, is not fully understood. The objective of this study was to investigate the association of vertigo and dizziness with self-perceived participation and autonomy in older non-institutionalised individuals, adjusted for the presence of other health conditions. Specifically, we wanted to investigate the different effects of vertigo and dizziness on specific components of participation, i.e. restrictions in indoor and outdoor autonomy, family role, social life and relationships, and work and education.
Methods: Data originate from the second wave of the German KORA-Age cohort study collected in 2012. Participation and autonomy was investigated with the Impact on Participation and Autonomy Questionnaire. We used robust regression to analyse the association of vertigo and dizziness with self-perceived participation and autonomy adjusted for covariates.
Results: A total of 822 participants (49.6% female) had a mean age of 78.1 years (SD 6.39). Participation and autonomy were significantly lower in participants with vertigo and dizziness across all domains. Adjusted for age, sex, and chronic conditions, vertigo and dizziness were significantly associated with participation restrictions in all domains except social life and relationships.
Conclusion: The results of our study indicate that vertigo and dizziness contribute to restrictions in participation and autonomy in individuals of older age. Recognising vertigo and dizziness as independent contributors to loss of autonomy and decreased chances for independent living may create new options for patient care and population health, such as the designing of complex interventions to maintain participation and autonomy.