OBJECTIVES: To test the efficacy of a multicomponent intervention to reduce functional difficulties, fear of falling, and home hazards and enhance self-efficacy and adaptive coping in older adults with chronic conditions.
DESIGN: A prospective, two-group, randomized trial. Participants were randomized to a treatment group or no-treatment group.
SETTING: Urban community-living older people.
PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred nineteen community-living adults aged 70 and older who reported difficulty with one or more activities of daily living.
INTERVENTION: Occupational and physical therapy sessions involving home modifications and training in their use; instruction in strategies of problem-solving, energy conservation, safe performance, and fall recovery techniques; and balance and muscle strength training.
MEASUREMENTS: Outcome measures included self-rated functional difficulties with ambulation, instrumental activities of daily living, activities of daily living, fear of falling, confidence performing daily tasks, and use of adaptive strategies. Observations of home hazards were also conducted.
RESULTS: At 6 months, intervention participants had less difficulty than controls with instrumental activities of daily living (P=.04, 95% confidence interval (CI)=−0.28–0.00) and activities of daily living (P=.03, 95% CI=−0.24 to −0.01), with largest reductions in bathing (P=.02, 95% CI=−0.52 to −0.06) and toileting (P=.049, 95% CI=−0.35–0.00). They also had greater self-efficacy (P=.03, 95% CI=0.02–0.27), less fear of falling (P=.001, 95% CI=0.26–0.96), fewer home hazards (P=.05, 95% CI=−3.06–0.00), and greater use of adaptive strategies (P=.009, 95% CI=0.03–0.22). Benefits were sustained at 12 months for most outcomes.
CONCLUSION: A multicomponent intervention targeting modifiable environmental and behavioral factors results in life quality improvements in community-dwelling older people who had functional difficulties, with most benefits retained over a year.