Holly Roberts, PT PhD
Background: Balance confidence and performance is crucial for fall prevention among the elderly but the correlation with age is unknown.
Purpose: Identify changes in balance confidence, balance performance and falls of older age.
Methods: 90 community-dwelling older adults (76+7 years, 54 female, 34 fallers) completed the Activity Specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC), Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ), Community Balance and Mobility Scale (CB&M), and Functional Gait Assessment (FGA), and self-reported falls for 6 months. Scores on outcome measures and fall rates were compared using a one-way repeated measures ANOVA for age groups 65-74, 75-84, and 85+.
Results: There were no differences in the monthly fall rate between age groups (1.3+2.42,1.15+3.04, and 1.87+2.64, respectively). FGA scores differed between the 65-74 group (27.02+.73) and the 75-84 group (23.15+.815) (P=.003), in addition to the 65-74 group and the 85+ group (18.33+1.21) (P=.000). CBM scores differed between the 65-74 group (71.54+2.97) and the 75-84 group (48.18+3.31) (P=.000), in addition to the 65-74 group and 85+ group (30.67+4.92) (P=.000). Scores on ABC and FFABQ did not differ among age groups.
Conclusion: Older community-dwelling adults scored lower on performance-based outcome measures for dynamic balance and gait than younger adults, though fall rate did not differ. Based on a previously established FGA cut-off score of 22, adults 85+ may be at risk for falls.However, scores on patient-reported outcome measures for balance confidence and fear of falling avoidance behavior were similar among age groups. This indicates that balance performance, not balance confidence, may decline with age.
University of Puget Sound
Dirringer, Lindsay SPT; Sabates, Ana SPT; and Roberts, Holly PT, PhD, "Comparison of Balance Confidence, Balance Performance, and Falls Among Age Groups for Community-Dwelling Older Adults" (2020). Physical Therapy Research Symposium. 62.