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falls, fear, gait, older adults, residence



  1. Wert, David M. MPT
  2. Talkowski, Jaime B. PhD, MPT
  3. Brach, Jennifer PhD, PT
  4. VanSwearingen, Jessie PhD, PT, FAPTA


Objectives: Research focusing on community-dwelling older adults includes adults living in senior living residences (SLR) and independent community residences (ICR). Walking, physical activity, fear of falling, and fall history may differ on the basis of residence.


Purpose: We describe characteristics of walking, physical activity, fear of falling, and fall history between community-dwelling older adults by residence.


Methods: Participants of this secondary analysis included community-dwelling older adults from independent living units within a senior life care community (SLR) and older adults recruited from the Pittsburgh community (ICR). Demographic information and physical (gait speed and physical activity), psychosocial (fear of falling and confidence in walking), and fall history measures were collected.


Results: Adults living in SLR compared with those in ICR were older, were more likely to live alone, and had greater disease burden. Compared with individuals in ICR, individuals in SLR reported less fear of falling (Survey of Activity and Fear of Falling in the Elderly tool fear results 0.24 and 0.50, respectively). Fewer older adults in SLR compared with those in ICR reported falling in the past year.


Discussion: Older adults living in SLR compared with those in ICR had similar physical function but differed in report of fear of falling and fall history. Recognizing the possible differences in psychosocial function by place of residence is important for health care providers and researchers conducting interventions and studies for community-dwelling older adults.