Factors associated with fear of falling in community-dwelling older adults with and without diabetes mellitus: Findings from the Frailty in Brazilian Older People Study (FIBRA-BR)

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Abstract

Purpose:

This study aimed to investigate the associated factors with fear of falling in community-dwelling older adults with and without diabetes mellitus.

Methods:

Data from the Frailty in Brazilian Older People Study (FIBRA-BR), involving 4449 individuals aged 65 years or older (19.2% with diabetes), were analyzed. The potential factors associated with fear of falling included sociodemographic data, chronic diseases, health-related variables and functional capacity measures. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the factors associated with fear of falling.

Results:

Female gender, arthritis or rheumatism, negative health self-perception, frailty, lower Lawton Scale score and reduced gait speed were independently associated with fear of falling in both groups. Factors associated with fear of falling specific to non-diabetic older adults were depression, visual impairment, falls in the previous 12 months, obesity, depressive symptoms, higher Katz Index score and decreased handgrip strength. Lower Mini-Mental State Examination score was an associated factor with fear of falling only in those with diabetes.

Conclusion:

The factors associated with fear of falling did differ between non-diabetic and diabetic older adults. Health care professionals should consider such differences when planning their therapeutic approaches for a successful management of fear of falling in these older populations.

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