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Long-Term Participation in Peer-Led Fall Prevention Classes Predicts Lower Fall Incidence

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.01.018
  • Accidental Falls
  • Aged
  • Community Health Services
  • Exercise
  • Patient Participation
  • Rehabilitation


Abstract Objective To investigate the association between length of participation in Steady As You Go (SAYGO) peer-led fall prevention exercise classes for older adults and 12-month fall incidence. Design Twelve-month prospective cohort study. Setting Community settings. Participants Older adults (N=207; 189 women, 18 men) aged ≥65y (mean age ± SD, 77.7±6.6y) actively participating in SAYGO classes. Intervention Peer-led fall prevention exercise classes. Main Outcome Measures Twelve-month prospective fall incidence data were collected by monthly calendars. Falls in the previous year and number of years of SAYGO participation were obtained by baseline questionnaire. Class attendance was monitored weekly by class attendance records. Results Mean length ± SD of SAYGO participation was 4.3±2.5 years (range, 1–10y). Average class attendance was 69%. Crude fall rate was .75 per person-year. Fall incidences at 12 and 24 months were highly correlated (r=.897, P<.001). Longer SAYGO participation (≥3y) resulted in a lower 12-month fall incidence (incidence rate ratio, .90; 95% confidence interval, .82–.99; P=.03) compared with a shorter duration of participation (1–2y). Conclusions SAYGO appears to be an effective fall prevention intervention with a high attendance rate and a lower fall incidence with long-term participation. Prospective controlled studies on long-term participation in peer-led fall prevention exercise programs are needed to confirm and extend these findings.

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