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Balance, gait and fear of falling in the elderly--a pilot study in community-based rehabilitation homes

Balance, gait and fear of falling in the elderly--a pilot study in community-based rehabilitation homes

West African Journal of Medicine 27(4): 245-249

Falls represent a major threat to health status and independence in the elderly, causing pain and cessation of physical activities, whether due to fear of falling, declining mobility or balance. To evaluate falls, vis-à-vis balance, gait and fear of falling, in the elderly living in Community-Based Rehabilitation Homes. Two Community-Based Rehabilitation Homes were randomly picked and 85 apparently healthy elderly (Males 44, Females 41), aged between 65 and 90 years, volunteered to participate in this study. The level of gait and balance of the participants was assessed using Tinetti Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment (TPOMA) scale while the fear of falling was assessed using the Activities Specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale. The occurrence of falls in the elderly was also recorded. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistic of chi-square to see the effect of gender. There was a significant difference between the physical characteristics of the male and female participants. Falls and fears of falls were prevalent. The frequency of falls increased with age. Chi-square test showed that the frequency of falls was significantly (p<0.05) higher in the females than males. Falls are significant causative factors of pain and avoidable disability. Their prevention in the elderly should be a major concern in our environment.

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Accession: 051752555

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PMID: 19469404

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