The likely acceptance of falls prevention websites by older people

Authors: Nyman, S.R., Hogarth, H.A., Ballinger, C. and Victor, C.R.

Conference: 10th International Conference on Falls and Postural Stability

Dates: 7 September 2009


Introduction The Internet has great potential for health promotion as a cost-effective means of mass communication, and so we analysed falls prevention websites for their likely acceptance among older people.

Methodology We qualitatively analysed 33 English websites that provided falls risk / prevention advice for older people and their relatives. Websites were identified from a recent systematic-style review and a repeated search in May 2009. We considered likely acceptance of the advice by older people by comparing the websites with ProFaNE’s recommendations (Yardley et al., 2007) for presenting falls prevention advice in regard to fit with a positive self-identity and empowerment. Website text was examined to identify the assumptions made of older people, how to motivate them to prevent falls, and the options afforded to act on the advice. We therefore used the principles of discourse analysis (Ballinger & Cheek, 2006) to analyse the subject positions afforded to the reader.

Results None of the websites were consistently in accord with ProFaNE recommendations in regard to positive self-identity and empowerment. We identified three main implicit images of older people that they would need to accept as readers of the advice: 1) Passive recipients: victims of the ageing process, ignorant, ill-informed, and vulnerable. 2) Rational learners: respondent to facts, rational problem-solvers, and compliant with prescriptive advice. 3) Empowered decision makers: able to evaluate the advice, decide how best to use it, and be responsible for their course of action. Whilst the image of passive recipients was mostly used, the image of empowered decision makers was most likely to motivate older people to prevent falls.

Conclusions To increase likely acceptance of falls prevention advice by older people, we recommend website editors revise the presentation of their advice in accord with ProFaNE recommendations and project an image of older people as empowered decision makers.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Samuel Nyman