Thesis

Evaluation of a fall prevention program for older adults in affordable housing communities

Thesis (M.A., Special Major (Community Development for Aging Populations))--California State University, Sacramento, 2016

Falls present significant health, psychological, financial, and environmental burdens for older adults, society, and health care systems. As the number of older adults increases, the number of fall-related injuries and fatalities will also increase. Community dwelling elders, especially low-income older adults, have an increased risk of falls. Affordable housing offers safe and supportive environments, as well as a platform for service delivery. Falls are not an inevitable part of aging and can be prevented. As a result of research, there has been an increase in fall prevention education programs. Multiple studies have highlighted the effectiveness of multi-component falls prevention programs, including A Matter of Balance, at lowering fall risk and incidence among community- dwelling older adults. There has been a need for more evaluation of fall prevention programs among specific groups, such as low-income older adults. The purpose of the study was to determine if A Matter of Balance participants at three affordable housing communities demonstrated significant and sustained improvements in their levels of falls management, physical activity, and social limitations with regard to fear of falling. Data were analyzed through surveys using a repeated-measures, single group design. Data were collected at baseline, post program, and after six months and analyzed using mean score changes and Chi-Square analysis. Results indicated that participants showed immediate improvement of the three measures, and while these measures mostly slightly decreased at the six-month follow-up, they sustained an increased level of improvement.

Falls present significant health, psychological, financial, and environmental burdens for older adults, society, and health care systems. As the number of older adults increases, the number of fall-related injuries and fatalities will also increase. Community dwelling elders, especially low-income older adults, have an increased risk of falls. Affordable housing offers safe and supportive environments, as well as a platform for service delivery. Falls are not an inevitable part of aging and can be prevented. As a result of research, there has been an increase in fall prevention education programs. Multiple studies have highlighted the effectiveness of multi-component falls prevention programs, including A Matter of Balance, at lowering fall risk and incidence among community- dwelling older adults. There has been a need for more evaluation of fall prevention programs among specific groups, such as low-income older adults. The purpose of the study was to determine if A Matter of Balance participants at three affordable housing communities demonstrated significant and sustained improvements in their levels of falls management, physical activity, and social limitations with regard to fear of falling. Data were analyzed through surveys using a repeated-measures, single group design. Data were collected at baseline, post program, and after six months and analyzed using mean score changes and Chi-Square analysis. Results indicated that participants showed immediate improvement of the three measures, and while these measures mostly slightly decreased at the six-month follow-up, they sustained an increased level of improvement.

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