Falls are a leading cause of injury and mortality among older adults. While multiple strategies are effective at reducing fall risk, uptake is low. Understanding how older adults think about fall risk and prevention activities can inform outreach initiatives and engagement.
We systematically searched PubMed, SCOPUS and Google Scholar for articles published between January 2015 and April 2023. Studies were eligible if they reported on knowledge or perception of fall risk and/or prevention among community-dwelling older adults.
We included 53 studies from 20 different countries. Over half of the studies used qualitative methods, 19 used quantitative, and three used mixed methods. Most of the older adults could identify some fall risk factors and the consequences of falls. However, many older adults did not view themselves as at-risk for falls. Some older adults consider falls an inevitable part of ageing, while others believe that falls can be prevented. Cultural context may play a role in shaping these beliefs. Several studies reported on older adults’ experiences and the perceived barriers and facilitators of participating in fall prevention activities.
Improving the accuracy of older adults’ perceptions of their own fall risk and highlighting the fact that many falls are preventable are two key messages that may help motivate older adults to take action to prevent falls. Older adults cite their healthcare provider as a trusted source of prevention information, and clinicians can leverage this opportunity to inform and motivate older adult patients about fall prevention.