Falls among community-dwelling older adults in Ethiopia; A preliminary cross-sectional study

Balamurugan Janakiraman, Melaku Hailu Temesgen, Gashaw Jember, Asmare Yitayeh Gelaw, Berihu Fisseha Gebremeskel, Hariharasudhan Ravichandran, Emnet Worku, Yohannes Abich, Fekadu Yilak, Misganaw Belay

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background Falls among older adults is a common precipitating factor for unintentional injuries and represent a major health problem associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and health care cost in low-and-middle-income countries. The burden of fall in this population is well established in high-income countries and scant attention is given to this precipitating factor in low-and-middle-income countries, including Ethiopia. Therefore, this study aimed to estimate the prevalence and factors associated with fall among community-dwelling older adults in Ethiopia. Methods A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted among community-dwelling older adults of Gondar. Multi-stage random sampling technique was used across administrative areas. Six hundred and five households were selected proportionally using systematic random sampling technique. Physical measurement and face to face interview method were employed using a structured questionnaire for data collection. Data were analyzed descriptively and through uni- and multivariate logistic regression model. Results One hundred and seventy (n = 170, 28.4%; 95% CI 24.7-32.1) community-dwelling older adults reported having experienced fall in the past 12 months. Sex (OR = 1.91, 95% CI: 1.24-2.95), low educational status (OR = 2.37, 95% CI: 1.19-4.74), uncomfortable home environment (OR = 2.02, 95% CI: 1.34, 3.04), having diagnosed medical condition (OR = 4.659, 95% CI: 1.20-18.02), and use of medication (OR = 5.57, 95% CI: 1.19-26.21) were significantly associated risk factors of self-reported fall in the past 12 months. Most outdoor falls are associated with females and participants aged below 66 years. Conclusion In conclusion, more than 1/4th of the community-dwelling older adults experienced at least one episode of fall and about 60% of them reported recurrent falls. Identifying risk group and risk factors that could be modified so as to prevent falls in older adults deserves attention. Outdoor falls are usually attributable to modifiable environmental aspects and improvements in outdoor environment needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0221875
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2019

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