SPHERU study highlights the experiences of rural seniors on falls and related injuries

September 22, 2016

Dr. Shanti Johnson was one of SPHERU's researchers that contributed to the article published in Educational Gerontology this summer.
Dr. Shanti Johnson was one of SPHERU's researchers that contributed to the article published in Educational Gerontology this summer.
This summer, SPHERU researchers published an article in Educational Gerontology entitled “Voices of senior rural men and women on falls and fall-related injuries: ‘If I fall outside and get hurt, what would I do?’”

SPHERU’s Dr. Shanthi Johnson -- along with Dr. Bonnie Jeffrey, Dr. Juanita Bacsu, Dr. Sylvia Abonyi and Dr. Nuelle Novik -- contributed to the study. The qualitative study examined the experiences of 42 rural seniors as it related to falls and fall-related injuries. Researchers analyzed the nature, causes and consequences of falls and injuries.

“Falls are common and costly,” said Dr. Shanthi Johnson. “The study highlighted the nuanced variation in how falls are voiced and experienced by rural seniors.”

A “fall” was described as a seniors’ life experience, ranging from a physical fall, a near or impending fall, or no fall with associated fear and other consequences.

The study found that falls were not only common among elderly people but falls and almost-falls had various physical and psychological consequences. Seniors also tended to rely on support from family members and friends instead of turning to health professionals and the health care system.

Researchers found that some seniors use adaptive strategies to avoid falls as opposed to well established fall prevention strategies. For example, some seniors may move their laundry to the main floor instead of using an established strategy such as exercise.

The study also added a voice to the scarcity of research involving rural seniors and qualitative methodology, Dr. Johnson said.

The full article can be viewed here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03601277.2016.1205403


 

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