Falls, risk factors and fear of falling among persons older than 65 years of age

Psychogeriatrics. 2017 Jul;17(4):215-223. doi: 10.1111/psyg.12217. Epub 2017 Jan 27.


Aim: Falling represents a major public health problem among older persons because it leads to premature mortality, loss of independence, and placement in assisted-living facilities. The purpose of this study was to assess the main features and risks for falls among persons older than 65 years of age as well as to quantify their fear of falling.

Methods: A total of 354 persons older than 65 years of age were recruited at a community health centre. Characteristics of the most recent fall were obtained through detailed interviews with study participants. The Falls Efficacy Scale was used to quantify fear of falling.

Results: Frequency of falling was 15.8%. Falls occurred most often while walking (49%). One-half of fallers (49.1%) sustained an injury. Head haematomas and soft tissues contusions were the most common consequences of falls. The average Falls Efficacy Scale score was significantly higher in fallers ( P = 0.001). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that having a fear of falling (odds ratio = 4.14, 95% confidence interval: 1.22-14.08, P = 0.02) and being a woman (odds ratio = 2.10, 95% confidence interval: 0.97-4.53, P = 0.05) were independent risk factors for falling among older persons.

Conclusion: The frequency of falls among older people was similar to those in other populations. These results could be used to help select older persons who should be enrolled in fall prevention programmes.

Keywords: Falls Efficacy Scale; falls; injuries; older persons; risk factors.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Serbia / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walking