Circumstances and consequences of falls in community-dwelling older women

Nancy M. Nachreiner, Mary J Findorff, Jean F Wyman, Teresa C McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Aims: To describe the circumstances and consequences of falls reported by community-dwelling older women. Methods: This prospective study collected data for approximately 2 years for women aged ≥70 years at risk for falling who were enrolled in the Fall Evaluation and Prevention Program. Results: Participants (263) completed a median of 24 months of follow-up. A total of 143 participants reported 341 falls; 70 reported 1 fall, and 73 reported 2 or more. A majority of falls (62%) occurred in/around the home, primarily during the daytime, and in living rooms or kitchens/dining rooms. Falls frequently occurred while walking, carrying objects, or reaching/leaning. Many falls did not result in injury (53%); however, 31% resulted in minor injuries, 10% in moderate injuries, and 6% in major injuries. Soft tissue injuries were common, and 5% of falls resulted in fractures. Nine falls resulted in hospitalization. Conclusions: The high rate of injurious falls seen here and the detailed information on activity at the time of the fall emphasize the need to increase awareness of behaviors and the environment to reduce fall risk. Previous studies have identified risk factors for falls, some of which cannot be modified, such as age or gender. In contrast, this study describes the activity at the time of the fall: many falls occur in the home environment, some with modifiable circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1437-1446
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


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