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Objective:

To determine seniors’ beliefs about falls and design a fall-risk self-assessment and educational materials to promote early identification of evidence-based fall risks and encourage prevention behaviors.

Methods:

Focus groups with community-dwelling seniors, conducted in two phases to identify perceptions about fall risks and risk reduction and to assess face validity of the fall-risk self-assessment and acceptability of educational materials.

Results:

Lay perception of fall risks was in general concordance with evidence-based research. Maintaining independence and positive tone were perceived as key motivators for fall prevention. Seniors intended to use information in the educational tool to stimulate discussions about falls with health care providers.

Implications:

An evidence-based, educational fall-risk self-assessment acceptable to older adults can build on existing lay knowledge about fall risks and perception that falls are a relevant problem and can educate seniors about their specific risks and how to minimize them.

Vivrette, Martin, and Josephson are with the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, North Hills, CA. Rubenstein is with the Donald W. Reynolds Dept. of Geriatric Medicine, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Oklahoma City, OK 73104. Kramer is with the Division of Geriatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.