Social and environmental factors associated with the occurrence of falls in the elderly

This article seeks to investigate environmental aspects that may be associated with falls among elderly residents in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. It is a population-based, descriptive, cross-sectional study, with primary data collection taken from an epidemiological study entitled A Profile of the Elderly in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The study was conducted between the years of 2010 and 2011 with 6751 elderly individuals in 59 cities in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The association between falling and the independent variables was verified by univariate and multivariate analysis, to estimate chances of falling, adjusted for sex and age. The frequency of falls was 10.7%. Factors detected to be effective against falling: being male, having higher education, perception of insecurity, placing of seats in public places and participation in social and civic activities. The following were considered risk factors: old age, use of walking aids and participation in community activities. The results remained significant after adjustment for demographic factors. Falling is commonly associated with physical and behavioral aspects, though social and environmental factors also prove significant in this respect.

Aging; Social participation; Community participation; Civic participation; Accidental falls; Risk factors

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