Assessment of balance and level of functional independence of elderly persons in the community

Juliana Rizzatto Ferraresi Melina Galetti Prata Marcos Eduardo Scheicher About the authors

Objectives:

To compare the balance and level of independence of elderly persons and to correlate these variables with age, cognitive status and number of medications taken.

Methods:

A total of 172 individuals, aged over 60 and without cognitive deficit were included in the study. The risk of falls was performed using the Berg Balance Scale and functional independence through the Barthel Index. Correlations were performed by Spearman's correlation index, and association was tested with the chi-square test, with p≤0.05 considered significant.

Results:

There was a moderate correlation between the risk of falls and functional independence (r=0.38; p<0.0001). There was also a statistically significant correlation between age and risk of falls (r=-0.43; p<0.0001). With regard to the association between the risk of falls and drugs, it was observed that elderly people who took three or more medications fell twice as often (p<0.0001).

Conclusion:

The results found a correlation between the risk of falls and functional independence, and also that older elderly persons, and those who took a greater number of medications, were more at risk of falls.

Aging; Postural Balance; Dependency; Activities of Daily Living


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