Outdoor exposure and perceived outdoor environments correlated to fear of outdoor falling among assisted living residents
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BACKGROUND: Fear of falling is a major health concern among older adults. Although several studies have addressed general fear of falling in relation to personal factors, little is known about the specific relationship between fear of outdoor falling and perceptions of the outdoor environments. PURPOSE: This study is to identify perceived environmental factors and outdoor exposure associated with fear of outdoor falling among assisted living residents aged 65 or older stratified by the amount of time spent outdoors. METHODS: This study used survey data collected from a multiregional study conducted in 2007 that surveyed residents in 68 assisted living facilities in Houston, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; and Seattle, Washington. Out of 1,043 total participants, this study used a subset of 907 residents who used outdoor areas at least five minutes a day. Multivariate logistic regression was used after controlling for covariates. RESULTS: Approximately 31% of the participants reported having worried about falling while using the outdoor areas in their assisted living community. Multivariate analyses showed that adequately designed walkways (OR = 0.614, 95% CI = 0.405-0.931), comfort levels in using outdoor areas (OR = 0.657, 95% CI = 0.437-0.989), and frequency of outdoor usage (OR = 0.538, 95% CI = 0.368-0.787) were associated with decreased fear of outdoor falling after adjusting for individual factors (i.e. age, sex, health condition, fall history, vision problems, mobility aids). CONCLUSION: Improved walkways and comfort levels when using outdoor areas, as well as the amount of time spent outdoors, would be helpful in reducing fear of outdoor falling, which can help promote healthy lifestyle among assisted living residents.
author list (cited authors)
Lee, S., Lee, C., & Rodiek, S.