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JFSF Vol 3, No 4, December 2018, p.179-184

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-03-179


Original Article

Physical, mental, and social functioning in women age 65 and above with and without a falls history: An observational case-control study

Lisbeth Rosenbek Minet1,2,3, Katja Thomsen1,4, Jesper Ryg1,4, Lars Matzen4, Tahir Masud4,5, Charlotte Ytterberg1,6

  1. Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark
  2. Health Sciences Research Centre, UCL University College
  3. Department of Rehabilitation, Odense University Hospital
  4. Department of Geriatric Medicine, Odense University Hospital
  5. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, United Kingdom
  6. Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Function Area Occupational Therapy & Physiotherapy, Karolinska University Hospital

Keywords: Falls, Functioning, Older women, Observational study


Objectives: There is a lack of knowledge about how falls are associated with the older person’s physical, mental, and social functioning which would help find effective methods for identifying rehabilitation needs in the older population to ensure appropriate follow-up. The aim was to investigate and compare functioning in women with and without a falls history. Methods: This was an observational case-control study. Study participants were fallers aged ≥65 years recruited consecutively from a hospital; age matched randomly selected community controls (fallers without contact with the healthcare system due to falls and non-fallers). Fallers were classified as once only fallers and recurrent fallers. Results: The sample constituted a group of older women with and without a falls history; 117 fallers from the Falls Clinic, and 99 fallers and 106 non-fallers community controls, median age 80 years. Both fallers from the clinic and the community had significantly lower functioning compared to non-fallers in all three domains. Recurrent fallers had poorer functioning compared to once only fallers. Conclusion: This study contributes to knowledge about older people’s functioning and disability in conjunction with a high fall-risk and highlights the importance of rehabilitation and prevention strategies that focus on early identification of disability in the older population regardless of falls history.