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Original Research

Int J Health Rehabil Sci. 2013; 2(1): 8-14

Fear of Falls and Compliance in Exercise Intervention by Community Dwelling Older Adults at Risk of Falling

Sanjay Eapen Samuel, Ashok Nayak, M Shashidhar Kotian.

Background: Risk for mobility problems and falls is encountered in more than one-third of community-dwelling older adults. Several factors have been reported in literature as motivators/ barriers to participation in exercise programs designed to modify fall risks.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of fear of falls on exercise compliance in community dwelling older adults.

Materials and Methods: One hundred sixteen community-dwelling older adults (age - 67.31 ± 3.06 years), with balance impairment were recruited into balance training intervention (n = 58) and functional training intervention (n=58) groups. The subjects received three sessions per week of training supplemented by home exercise program, over eight weeks of intervention period. Berg Balance Scale was used to assess balance. Fear of falling was measured by Falls Efficacy Scale-International. Failure to turn up at appointments as well as self- reported non- compliance with the home program was recorded to determine exercise compliance.

Statistical analysis: The data was analyzed by using Student’s unpaired ‘ t’ test.

Results: Exercise non-compliance was higher in functional training group (36.21%) than the balance training group (25.86%). In both the intervention groups, subjects with lower fear of falling demonstrated poor exercise compliance. When subjects were categorized by fall risk, in both low fall risk (n=56) as well as medium fall risk (n=60) groups, the exercise compliance was poorer among subjects with lower fear of falling.

Conclusion: Among community dwelling older adults participating in exercise based interventions aimed at reducing risk of falling, exercise compliance was poorer in subjects with lower fear of falling.

Key words: Fear of falls, Exercise compliance, Older adults.

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