Fear of falling increases risk of injurious falls, according to study
A study by five NVS researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, shows that fear of falling can increase the risk of injurious falls in older adults, especially for those with no apparent physiological risk of falling.
The study shows that older adults worried about falling can be at risk for injurious falls. This is especially clear among persons below 70 years of age and those not showing impaired balance according to single-leg stance tests. The results indicate that fear of falling can pose a particular risk for injurious falls among older adults with no apparent physiological risk of falling. Identification of an increased physiological risk of falling can be used to individualize and improve fall prevention measures.
Persons 60 years of age or older were asked if they were afraid of falling, and they were then followed to record injurious falls over a five-year period. In total, 1,281 persons from the SNAC-K study (Swedish National Study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen) were included.
For future studies, the researchers are interested in the connections between different measures of self-rated health and fall risk, as well as whether fear of falling can affect movement patterns in older adults.
More information: Anna-Karin Welmer et al, Association Between Concerns About Falling and Risk of Injurious Falls in Older Adults: The Role of Balance Impairment, Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.jamda.2023.07.015