Purpose: To evaluate rates and factors associated with older adult falls in different ethnic groups.
Participants and methods: Information on demographics, medical and falls history, and pain and physical activity levels was collected from 550 community-dwelling older adults (75±9 years old, 222 European Americans, 109 Afro-Caribbeans, 106 African-Americans, and 113 Hispanics).
Results: Taking medications for anxiety (risk ratio [RR] =1.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.1-2.0), having incontinence (RR =1.4, 95% CI =1.1-1.8, P=0.013), back pain (RR =1.4, 95% CI =1.0-1.8), feet swelling (RR =1.3, 95% CI =1.1-1.7), and age ≥75 years (RR =1.3, 95% CI =1.0-1.6) were associated with falls. The associations were stronger for Afro-Caribbeans, but they presented approximately 40% lower prevalence of falls than the other groups.
Conclusion: Taking anxiety medication, incontinence, back pain, feet swelling, and age ≥75 years were associated with falls, and Afro-Caribbeans presented lower prevalence of falls. These findings need to be taken into consideration in clinical interventions in aging.
Keywords: community dwelling; ethnicity; falls; older adults; risks.