Background: The risk factors for falls that have been reported in Caucasian older adults may not be the same for Korean older adults.
Objective: To examine the prevalence, characteristics and correlates of falls among community-dwelling older adults in Korea.
Methods: A stratified random sampling method was conducted to recruit participants, and 335 were eligible to participate from September 2006 to March 2007. Socio-demographic data, history of disease and medications, activities of daily living (ADL), cognitive status, health behaviour and fall incidents were collected. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the sample. The prevalence of falls was obtained. Univariate analyses for risk factors of falls using chi-square and t-test statistics, and multivariate logistic regression analyses for correlates of falls were performed.
Results: Of the 335 older adults, 48 (15%) elderly had experienced falls. There was a significant difference between older adults who fell and those who did not fall with regard to ADL and exercise behaviour. Non-fallers had higher ADL scores and showed higher levels of adherence to exercise than fallers. The independent risk factor for falls was ADL.
Conclusions/implications: In this study, an individual's functional status and exercise engagement were significant factors that differentiated fallers and non-fallers. Therefore, an effective fall prevention programme should be focused on encouraging older adults to participate in regular exercise.