Falls and fear of falling among Israeli community-dwelling older people: a cross-sectional national survey

Dvora Frankenthal*, Mor Saban, Dolev Karolinsky, Miri Lutski, Shelley Sternberg, Iris Rasooly, Irit Laxer, Inbar Zucker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Falls and fear of falling are a major problem for older people and a leading cause of functional decline and institutionalization. There is limited data on the prevalence of falls in a 12-month period among Israeli older adults. Our main objective was to evaluate the prevalence of falls among Israeli community-dwelling older people aged ≥65 years and to identify factors associated with falls and fear of falling. Methods: A national cross-sectional interview survey was conducted between February 2018 and April 2019 by the Israeli Center for Disease Control. The prevalence of falls was assessed by asking participants about falling within the 12 months prior to the survey. Fear of falling was assessed by asking participants about the fear of future falls. Multivariate analysis was used to identify factors associated with falls and with fear of falling. Results: From 5281 households that were eligible for inclusion in this study, 3242 participants (61.4%) completed the survey. Falling at least once in the past year was reported by 23.8% of the respondents and fear of falling by 48.2%. The majority of the participants (91.1%) reported that they had never received any instruction about fall prevention from their medical care provider. In the multivariate analysis, falls and fear of falling were each a risk factor for the other; and were also significantly associated with female gender, major functional difficulties, the use of walking aids, cardiac disease, diabetes mellitus and psychotropic medications. Conclusion: The prevalence of falls and fear of falling among Israeli community-dwelling older people is comparable to the rates published in other countries. Efforts should be made to increase awareness about falls and their health consequences among older people. The development of specific interventions to target those at higher risk for falls and fear of falling is strongly recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Falls
  • Fear of falling
  • Geriatrics
  • Israel
  • Older people

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