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Living Alone and Fall Risk Factors in Community-Dwelling Middle Age and Older Adults


As part of a larger study on fall-related risk factors, this study investigated the relationship between living alone status and fall-related variables among community-dwelling adults who lived in a rural county in eastern North Carolina. A convenience sample of 666 community-dwelling adults ages 50 and over participated in this 4-year study and completed a fall questionnaire. Significant findings were found in relation to living alone status and experiencing a fall, who they informed about their fall, injuries, safety equipment, ambulatory devices, and personal emergency response system usage. Three hundred thirty-eight participants stated they lived alone, compared to 300 who lived with others. The percentage reporting a fall was appreciably larger for those living alone (52%) than for those living with others (48%) in both genders in all age groups except for the 61–70 year old adults where the percentage was less. Findings from this research enhance knowledge about the prevalence and contributing fall-related factors in adults who live alone compared to those who live with others. Insights gained from this research will assist community and public health leaders and health care professionals in developing more efficacious intervention strategies to prevent or reduce falls, and associated psychological and physical consequences.

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The authors would like to thank the Pitt County Council on Aging and Therapeutic Life Center, Greenville, NC for their support in this endeavor and thank the Pitt County Memorial Hospital Foundation and Safe Communities for helping to fund the SPICE for Life fall prevention program.

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Correspondence to Jane Painter.

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Elliott, S., Painter, J. & Hudson, S. Living Alone and Fall Risk Factors in Community-Dwelling Middle Age and Older Adults. J Community Health 34, 301 (2009).

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  • Prevention
  • Home safety
  • Occupational therapy
  • Alone status