Perceived Quality of Life Following Falls: Voices of Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Saturday, 29 July 2017: 8:30 AM

Anthony A. Adeniran, DNP
Health1st Home Health Services, Health1st LLC, Drexel Hill, PA, USA

Background: Physiological age-related changes affect the function of everybody system, resulting in many quality of life challenges for older adults (Makizako et al., 2010). One of the resultant effects of age-related changes for older adults is higher incident and prevalence of falls and fall-related injuries. Fall is as an event which results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or floor or other lower level (Morgan, McDonald, & McGinley, 2015). Low-level falls are considered innocent in the young, but have lasting consequence for older adults. In general, 33% of older adults in the United States fall annually. Particularly, community-dwelling older adults have higher risks for falls, as up to 50% of community-dwelling older adults fall annually (Soriano, DeCherrie, & Thomas, 2007). The consequences of falls for community-dwelling older adults are grave, with far-reaching implications on their quality of life, including possible loss of independence. Community-dwelling older adults who have fallen tend to avoid activities that they are capable of performing due to fear of falling (Schepens, Sen, Painter, & Murphy, 2012; Trujillo, Painter, & R, 2014).

Purpose : The purpose of the study was to document the voices of community-dwelling older adults’ perceived quality of life following the experience of falls.

Methods: This qualitative study utilized semi-structured questionaires with probes to explore the perceived quality of life of five community-dwelling older adults who have experienced a fall within the previous 12 months of the study. Braun and Clarkes (2006) six-phase process of thematic analysis (TA) was used to guide the data generation and analysis.

Results: Analysis yielded 13 codes that were collated into four themes described participants’ perceived quality of life following their fall experiences. The four themes are: 1) Perceived threat to individual autonomy and personal dignity 2) Amplified limitations of inevitable philological decline from normal aging process 3) Heightened awareness of environmental hazards as additional source and constant reminder of fear of falling and 4) Psychological scar from a previous fall experience affected their self-confidence and interfered with their self-worth.

Conclusion: The study echoed the voices of participant’s about fear of falling as a limiting factor that affected their perceived quality of life. Study participant’s described how their fall experiences influenced their thought processes, compelling them to avoid certain activities that they used to enjoy, and a need to adjust their way of living to mitigate their fall risks.

Significance and Implications: The findings of this study underscored the impact and consequences of falling for community-dwelling older adults, a phenomenon discussed in the literature. Study findings echoed the unique voices of community-dwelling older adults perceived quality of life following a fall experience. It highlights community-dwelling older adults’ views of perceived quality of life following the experience of fall.

Strength and Limitations: This study contributed to knowledge of the consequence and implications of the experience of falls for community-dwelling older adults. It accentuates the unique voices of community-dwelling older adult’s perceived quality of life following fall experiences. The findings should be interpreted in light of the relative small sample size. Larger sample is necessary to amplify the results of this study and to gain deeper understanding of community-dwelling older adults’ perceived quality of life following fall experiences.