Tijdschrift voor gerontologie en geriatrie vol:35 issue:1 pages:15-20
This pilot study was designed to examine prevalence, circumstances and consequences of falls among 131 community-dwelling elderly (mean age = 76.7 y.; SD = 5.4; response = 29.8%). Based on a retrospective analysis, 39.7% of our study population had experienced one (65.4%) or more (34.6%) falls in the preceding year. Falls appeared to occur predominantly while getting up from the bed, chair or bath (18%), cycling (14%), walking on an uneven surface (14%) and during household work (14%). Fall-related injuries were reported in 67.3% of the fallers, fractures in 17.4%. Additionally, a majority of fallers (63.5%) experienced a mild to serious form of anxiety, 48.1% consulted a general practitioner after the fall and 34.6% was hospitalised. In line with data reported in the literature, falls are a common problem in Flanders and are associated with a negative impact on the physical and psychosocial well being of the elderly population. We conclude that there is an urgent need to develop and implement preventive measures as well as multidisciplinary strategies to identify, assess and target high-risk persons for falling.