FEAR OF FALLING AMONG COMMUNITY DWELLING OLDER ADULTS
Aim: The aim of the study was to describe experience with falls, fear of falling, perceptions of the consequences of falls and how the fear of falling affects daily life in community-dwelling older adults. Design: The study used a qualitative design to describe the lived experiences of community-dwelling older adults with the fear of falling. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted individually with six participants who reported the fear of falling. Results: Five main areas emerged from data analysis: development of the fear of falling, feared consequences of falling, activities curtailment, fall prevention behavior and meaning of social support in daily life. The fear of falling was described as a negative experience, directly linked to fall consequences such as physical injury, incapacitation, loss of autonomy, fear of dependence and experience of humiliating conditions. To maintain a certain level of independence in daily life, the participants chose to avoid falls by activity curtailment, organizing their lives more carefully and getting support from others. Conclusion: All participants identified that they had discovered their fear of falling after experiencing falls. The fear of falling was associated with feared consequences of a potential fall and had an impact on their daily life. The participant also mentioned other contributors to their fear of falling, including ill health and aging.
Keywords: Fear of falling, older adults, perceived consequences of falls, daily life.