Older people’s use of personal fall alarms

Authors: Catling, C., Nyman, S.R. and Victor, C.R.

Conference: 39th BSG (British Society of Gerontology) Conference: Identities, Care and Everyday Life

Dates: 6-8 July 2010


Purpose: Falls are a major health issue for older people, with increased risks for those who lie on the floor an hour or more after a fall. Personal alarms have been developed to reduce long lies, and the aim of this study was to estimate the use of personal fall alarms by older people and explore the characteristics of users.

Method: Secondary analysis was conducted on data from the third wave (2006-2007) of the nationally representative English Longitudinal Study of Aging. We included participants aged 65+ who had complete data on the dependent variable of use of personal fall alarms. Independent variables were selected to ascertain the characteristics of the users as a function of socio-demographics, health, psychosocial well being and environmental control.

Results: Of the 3091 participants 180 (5.8%) used a personal fall alarm. Users were older than non-users (M=82.34 years, SD=9; vs. M=75.73 years, SD=7.64) and more likely to be women (n=137, 7.3%, vs. n=43, 3.6%), with women aged 85+ being the highest group of users (19.2%). Users were also more likely to report that they enjoyed life much (4.1%) and report a higher number of falls in the past two years (M=5.96, SD=31.12; vs. M=3.30, SD=10.85). Perceived security and propensity to use technology did not influence the use of personal fall alarms.

Conclusion: In order to prevent the associated health risks of long lies after falling, developers need to not only consider the efficacy of personal fall alarms but whether their use can be increased.


Source: Manual

Preferred by: Samuel Nyman