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Institute for Aging Research study finds indoor and outdoor fall are different for the elderly
Date:9/7/2010

BOSTONThe risk factors for indoor and outdoor falls for older adults are different, according to a new study by the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, a fact that is often missed when the two are combined and may affect how falls prevention programs are structured.

"Indoor and outdoor falls are both important," says senior author Marian T. Hannan, D.Sc., a senior scientist at the Institute for Aging Research, "but people at high risk for indoor falls are different in many ways from those at high risk of outdoor falls. Failure to separate the two can mask important information on risk factors and may hamper the effectiveness of falls prevention programs."

Published online (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1532-5415/earlyview) in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the study found that indoor falls are associated with an inactive lifestyle, disability, and poor health, while outdoor falls are associated with higher levels of activity and average or better-than-average health.

Older adults who fell outdoors were somewhat younger than those who fell indoors, more likely to be male and better educated, and had lifestyle characteristics indicative of better health. Those who fell indoors had more physical disabilities, took more medications, and had lower cognitive function than those who fell outdoors.

The study examined 765 men and women, age 70 and older, from randomly sampled households in the Boston area. Study participants underwent a comprehensive baseline falls assessment, including a home visit and clinic examination. Falls were reported on monthly calendars submitted to the researchers. Over a nearly two-year period, 598 indoor falls and 524 outdoor falls were reported. When a participant reported a fall, a structured telephone interview was conducted to determine t
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Contact: Scott Edwards
edwards@hrca.harvard.edu
781-247-8172
Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research
Source:Eurekalert

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