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Advisory Committee Chair

Lesley A Ross

Advisory Committee Members

David E Vance

Olivio J Clay

Karlene K Ball

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

With an aging population, more attention has to be focused on the needs of older adults, especially regarding medical and psychological concerns. Thirty-three percent of older adults fall each year, and falling is one of the leading causes of accidental death nationwide. The objective of this study was to identify predictors of falls among sedentary community-dwelling older adults (age 65+). The study employed a secondary data analysis of measures collected in the Physical and Cognitive Exercise Study (PACES). Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate whether individual or composite measures of vision, cognition, and physical functioning were associated with an increased risk of reporting of a fall. Predictors included demographic variables such as age and gender, and individual and composite measures of vision, health, cognition, and physical functioning. Using logistic regression, we found that having poor health and poor lower limb mobility predicted an increased odds of reporting a fall. Understanding the factors associated with falling could benefit older adults and health care professionals by increasing awareness of fall risk, potentially leading to the implementation of prevention techniques, and ultimately helping to improve the quality of life.

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