The neighborhood environment: Perceived fall risk, resources, and strategies for fall prevention

Tracy Chippendale, Marie Boltz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of the Study: To explore the experience of older adults in their neighborhood in relation to perceived fall risk, fear of falling (FOF), and resources/strategies for fall prevention. Design and Methods: Fourteen older adults, 65 years of age and older from 3 urban senior centers, participated in this qualitative study. The semistructured interview guidelines and background questionnaire were developed by the researchers based on the literature and an existing measure of walkability. Both tools were refined based on pilot interviews with seniors. Collaizzi's phenomenological method was used for data analysis. Results: Five themes emerged from the data: (a) The built environment contributes to perceived fall risk and FOF, (b) personal strategies used to adapt to perceived neighborhood fall risks-behavioral approaches, (c) resources for physical activity and safety, (d) barriers to physical activity and exercise, and (e) neighborhood features as a motivator. Implications: Urban-dwelling seniors perceive that neighborhood features contribute to or mitigate fall risk and FOF. Behavioral strategies are used by seniors to prevent outdoor falls. The findings can help clinicians develop targeted fall prevention interventions for well elders and help urban planners to design and retrofit urban environments to reduce fall risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-583
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Built environment
  • Falls prevention
  • Fear of falling
  • Older adults
  • Perceptions of fall risk
  • Social environment
  • geriatrics
  • elderly
  • elderly populations
  • falls
  • fall risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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