Journal of Family and Community Medicine

LETTERS TO EDITOR
Year
: 2018  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 222--223

Falls among elderly and its relation with their health problems and surrounding environmental factors in Riyadh


Prabha Thangaraj 
 Department of Community Medicine, Trichy SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Prabha Thangaraj
Department of Community Medicine, Trichy SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, Irungalur, Trichy - 621 105, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Thangaraj P. Falls among elderly and its relation with their health problems and surrounding environmental factors in Riyadh.J Fam Community Med 2018;25:222-223


How to cite this URL:
Thangaraj P. Falls among elderly and its relation with their health problems and surrounding environmental factors in Riyadh. J Fam Community Med [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Jun 27 ];25:222-223
Available from: http://www.jfcmonline.com/text.asp?2018/25/3/222/240157


Full Text

Sir,

I was interested in the article titled, “Falls among elderly and its relation with their health problems and surrounding environmental factors in Riyadh” published in your journal.[1] The main objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of falls in the elderly and identify risk factors associated with them. I appreciate the study since not much research has been done in Saudi Arabia on the falls of elderly people.[2] The authors concluded that 57.7% of the elderly participants in their study had a history of a fall, a percentage which is much higher than reported in other studies. Also important was the significant role the environment played in the falls. A few clarifications are necessary here.

First, the study does not specify the period of time covered in the history of the falls. The validated tool[3] used by the researchers, assess the fall history in the past 3 months. If the current study has also assessed the fall history in the past three months, then it would be inappropriate to compare this study with other studies done in Brazil,[4] Japan,[5] and India,[6] where the history of falls was gathered over a period of 6–12 months. With a change in this duration, the burden of the falls will also differ.

Second, Morse Fall Scale[7] is only used to assess the fall risk of hospitalized elderly patients[8] and not community-based residents for which Berg Balance Scale[9] and other scales can be used. The present study used a single tool to assess the risk of falls in both hospital patients and normal ambulatory patients.

Third, the authors collected data from the study participants by visiting mosques, malls, and hospitals but did not visit the homes of the elderly. They found a significant association between falls and the environmental factors. However, a visit to the homes of the elderly is crucial in drawing conclusions as to whether there are risks as a result of poor lighting at home, certain items are hard to reach, uneven floors, or clutter.

To meet the objectives of the study, the authors could have asked only community-based resident elderly in their homes to participate.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1Alshammari SA, Alhassan AM, Aldawsari MA, Bazuhair FO, Alotaibi FK, Aldakhil AA, et al. Falls among elderly and its relation with their health problems and surrounding environmental factors in Riyadh. J Family Community Med 2018;25:29-34.
2Al Saif A, Waly E, Alsenany S. The prediction of falls among older people in Saudi Arabia. J Am Sci 2012;8:692-700.
3Calys M, Gagnon K, Jernigan S. A validation study of the Missouri Alliance for home care fall risk assessment tool. Home Health Care Manage Pract 2013;25:3944.
4Brito TA, Coqueiro Rda S, Fernandes MH, de Jesus CS. Determinants of falls in community-dwelling elderly: Hierarchical analysis. Public Health Nurs 2014;31:290-7.
5Mizukami S, Arima K, Abe Y, Kanagae M, Kusano Y, Niino N, et al. Falls are associated with stroke, arthritis and multiple medications among community-dwelling elderly persons in Japan. Tohoku J Exp Med 2013;231:299-303.
6Mane AB, Sanjana T, Patil PR, Sriniwas T. Prevalence and correlates of fear of falling among elderly population in urban area of Karnataka, India. J Midlife Health 2014;5:150-5.
7Morse JM, Morse RM, Tylko SJ. Developmalet of a scale to identify the fall-prone patient. Can J Aging 1989;8:366-77.
8Perell KL, Nelson A, Goldman RL, Luther SL, Prieto-Lewis N, Rubenstein LZ, et al. Fall risk assessment measures: An analytic review. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2001;56:M761-6.
9Berg KO, Wood-Dauphinee SL, Williams JI, Maki B. Measuring balance in the elderly: Validation of an instrument. Can J Public Health 1992;83 Suppl 2:S7-11.