A comparison of the prevalence of Fear of Falling between older patients with Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and without dementia

Exp Gerontol. 2021 Apr;146:111248. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2021.111248. Epub 2021 Jan 21.


Background: The development of cognitive impairment and Fear of Falling (FoF) are strongly linked, but prevalence of FoF is not known in patients with different types of dementia. This study aims to evaluate and compare the prevalence and severity of FoF in patients' with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Alzheimer disease (AD), and non-dementia.

Methods: 46 participants with DLB, 86 participants with AD and participants without dementia (controls), underwent Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA). The Falls Efficacy Scale-International (FES-I) was used to determine and classify FoF. An overall score on the FES-I of 16-19, 20-27 and ≥28, was accepted as low, moderate, and high concern about FoF, respectively.

Results: Prevalence of high FoF was 86.9% in DLB, 36.0% in AD and 37.4% in controls. All CGA parameters were worse in the DLB and AD group than non-dementia group (p < 0.001). The prevalence of high FoF/FES-scores was significantly higher in the DLB group than in the AD and non-dementia group (p < 0.001), but was similar in AD and non-dementia groups (p > 0.05). The significant relationship between DLB and FoF was maintained when adjusted for age, CGA parameters, and orthostatic hypotension (OR: 2.55, CI: 1.03-6.25, p = 0.041 comparison to AD; OR: 4.79, CI: 2.10-10.92, p < 0.001 comparison to non-dementia).

Conclusion: Eight out of ten elderly patients with DLB have high FoF, which is much higher than those with AD and without dementia. Therefore, clinicians should be aware of FoF and its related consequences in the management of DLB in older adults.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Dementia with Lewy bodies; Fear of Falling.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease* / epidemiology
  • Fear
  • Humans
  • Lewy Body Disease* / epidemiology
  • Prevalence