The association of falls with instability: an analysis of perceptions and expectations toward the use of fall detection devices among older adults in Malaysia

Kawthar Abdul Rahman, Siti Anom Ahmad, Azura Che Soh, Asmidawati Ashari, Chikamune Wada, Alpha Agape Gopalai

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Background: Falls are a significant incident among older adults affecting one in every three individuals aged 65 and over. Fall risk increases with age and other factors, namely instability. Recent studies on the use of fall detection devices in the Malaysian community are scarce, despite the necessity to use them. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the association between the prevalence of falls with instability. This study also presents a survey that explores older adults' perceptions and expectations toward fall detection devices. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted involving 336 community-dwelling older adults aged 50 years and older; based on randomly selected participants. Data were analyzed using quantitative descriptive analysis. Chi-square test was conducted to investigate the associations between self-reported falls with instability, demographic and walking characteristics. Additionally, older adults' perceptions and expectations concerning the use of fall detection devices in their daily lives were explored. Results: The prevalence of falls was 28.9%, where one-quarter of older adults fell at least once in the past 6 months. Participants aged 70 years and older have a higher fall percentage than other groups. The prevalence of falls was significantly associated with instability, age, and walking characteristics. Around 70% of the participants reported having instability issues, of which over half of them fell at least once within 6 months. Almost 65% of the participants have a definite interest in using a fall detection device. Survey results revealed that the most expected features for a fall detection device include: user-friendly, followed by affordably priced, and accurate. Conclusions: The prevalence of falls in community-dwelling older adults is significantly associated with instability. Positive perceptions and informative expectations will be used to develop an enhanced fall detection incorporating balance monitoring system. Our findings demonstrate the need to extend the fall detection device features aiming for fall prevention intervention.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number612538
    Number of pages11
    JournalFrontiers in Public Health
    Volume9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2021

    Keywords

    • assistive technology
    • fall detection
    • fall prevention
    • gerontechnology
    • instability
    • older adults
    • perception

    Cite this