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  • Author: Laurence Z. Rubenstein x
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Rebecca L. Vivrette, Laurence Z. Rubenstein, Jennifer L. Martin, Karen R. Josephson and B. Josea Kramer

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.

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B. Josea Kramer, Beth Creekmur, Michael N. Mitchell, Debra J. Rose, Jon Pynoos and Laurence Z. Rubenstein

The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence designed three progressive-intensity fall prevention program models, Increasing Stability Through Evaluation and Practice (InSTEP), to reduce risk in community-dwelling older adults. Each model included physical activity, medical risk, and home safety components and was implemented as a 12-week program for small class sizes (12–15 people) in community and senior centers. Change in fall rates and fall risk factors was assessed using a battery of performance tests, self-reports of function, and fall diaries in a 3-group within-subjects (N = 200) design measured at baseline, immediately postintervention, and at 3 and 9 months postintervention. Overall, participants experienced a reduction in falls, improved self-perception of gait and balance, and improved dynamic gait function. The medium-intensity InSTEP model signifcantly (p = .003) reduced self-reported falls in comparison with the other models. InSTEP is a feasible model for addressing fall risk reduction in community-dwelling older adults.