Knowledge, behavioral practices, and experiences of outdoor fallers: Implications for prevention programs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Although the epidemiology and prevention of falls has been well studied, the focus has been on indoor rather than outdoor falls. Older adults’ knowledge of outdoor risk factors and their outdoor fall prevention practices have not been examined. To fill this gap, and to inform the development of a prevention program, we sought to explore the experiences and fall prevention knowledge and practices of older adults who had sustained an outdoor fall. Methods A cross-sectional study using random digit telephone dialing was used to survey community dwelling seniors (N = 120) across the five boroughs of New York City. We used the Outdoor Falls Questionnaire (OFQ), a valid and reliable tool as the survey instrument. Perceived outdoor fall risks, strategies used for prevention, and outdoor fall experiences were examined. SPSS version 21 was used for descriptive analysis of participant characteristics and to determine frequencies of perceived outdoor fall risks and strategies used for prevention. Phenomenological analysis was used with the qualitative data. Qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed separately and a mixed methods matrix was used to interpret and integrate the findings. Results Analysis revealed diverse unmet education and training needs including the importance of using single vision glasses, understanding the fall risks associated with recreational areas and parking lots, safe outdoor walking strategies, safe carrying of items on level and uneven surfaces, as well as when walking up and down stairs, and safety in opening/closing doors. Conclusions Study findings are informative for outdoor fall prevention programs as well as practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Healthy aging
  • Outdoor falls prevention
  • outdoor falls
  • fall prevention
  • fall characteristics
  • fall education
  • older adults
  • elderly adults
  • geriatric
  • fall experiences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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