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Open AccessArticle

Experiences of the Built Environment, Falls and Fear of Falling Outdoors among Older Adults: An Exploratory Study and Future Directions

1
Department of Population Health, University of Otago Christchurch, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand
2
Centre of Excellence: Sustainable Tourism, Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand
3
Geospatial Research Institute, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1224; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041224
Received: 20 January 2020 / Revised: 9 February 2020 / Accepted: 12 February 2020 / Published: 14 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Daily Travel and Wellbeing among the Elderly)
Falls can have serious impacts on the health, wellbeing and daily mobilities of older adults. Falls are a leading cause of injury and death amongst older adults and outdoor falls comprise a substantial proportion of pedestrian injuries. As well as physical injuries, the psychological impacts of experiencing a fall can result in older adults getting out of the house less often, resulting in lower levels of physical activity and social connection. Despite the known consequences of falls, relatively little research considers the impact of the urban built environment on falls among older adults. This research aimed to explore the experiences of older adults in the urban environment, falling and the fear of falling outdoors. We conducted an online survey with adults aged 50+ using a participatory mapping survey tool and a convenience sample. The study area was Greater Christchurch, New Zealand. Results suggest that both perceived accessibility and neighbourhood conditions are independently associated with fear of falling, after controlling for frequency of falling, gender and activities of daily living. Our findings demonstrate the need for much better understandings of the relationships between the urban environment, outdoor mobility, fear of falling and falling among older adults and we propose suggestions for future research. View Full-Text
Keywords: falls; ageing; built environment; fear of falling; mobility; wellbeing falls; ageing; built environment; fear of falling; mobility; wellbeing
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Curl, A.; Fitt, H.; Tomintz, M. Experiences of the Built Environment, Falls and Fear of Falling Outdoors among Older Adults: An Exploratory Study and Future Directions. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1224.

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