Safety of older people on stairs : behavioural factors
online resourceposted on 04.01.2007, 17:13 by L.D. Hill, Roger Haslam, Peter A. Howarth, Katherine S.F. Brooke-Wavell, Joanne E. Sloane
Falling on steps and stairs in the home is a serious problem for older people aged 65 and over, both in terms of the high frequency with which these accidents occur and their consequences. Although previous research has increased knowledge of personal and environmental factors involved in falls on stairs, behavioural aspects have received less attention. The aini of this investigation, therefore, was to improve understanding of how older people keep and use their stairs, and to assess the iniplications for stair safety. Interviews were conducted with 157 older people, aged between 65-96 years, in their own homes. Using a conibination of open and closed questions, participants were asked about their behaviour on and around thc stairs, awareness of safety factors and any history of falling on stairs. During each visit, information was collected about the stairs in the home including design and repair of stair coverings, number of handrails and thcir condition, objects on and around the stairs, lighting, and position of windows. Standard mthropometric dimensions of interviewees were recorded, along with other measurements including grip strength, ability to get up from a stool without using hands, and measures of visual acuity and depth perception.