Falls and associated factors among elderly persons residing in the community

Abstract Objective: to identify the prevalence of falls among elderly persons and analyze fall-related factors. Method: a cross-sectional, population-based study conducted by household survey of 400 elderly subjects (aged 60 years or older) living in the city of Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil was carried out. The occurrence of falls in the last 12 months, sociodemographic factors, health profile and geriatric syndromes were observed. The crude and adjusted prevalence ratios (PR) were obtained using Poisson regression. A three-model hierarchical approach was applied in the multivariate analysis. In all the multivariate models, gender and age were defined as confounding variables. Variables which reached a level of p<0.05 in the first model were retained in the subsequent models. For all models the significance threshold was set at 0.05 and the variables which remained associated with the occurrence of falls in the 3rd model were retained in the final analysis. Result: the prevalence of falls was 35.3% (CI 95% = 30.7;40.0). Among the elderly persons who reported falls, 44% reported that they had fallen more than once. The majority of falls occurred at home (69.2%) and in the morning (46.7%). Age a reported difficulty walking remained significantly associated with the outcome after adjustments (3rd model). Conclusion: falls are frequent and are associated with increasing age and difficulty walking. The recognition of these factors is important for strategies to reduce falls and the promotion of a healthy aging by means of preventive and rehabilitation actions that target more vulnerable groups.