In addition to the physical injuries they can cause, falls can have negative psychological consequences for the elderly person.
Vivre en Équilibre is a new group program that aims to build seniors’ confidence in their ability to prevent falls while keeping them active.
Indeed, a fear of falling can insidiously take root and lead to an undue restriction of the person’s activities and social participation. In addition to affecting their quality of life, this excessive restriction can actually increase the risk of falling for seniors. However, fall prevention programs seldom target fear of falling in their interventions. In addition, seniors who use mobility aids do not always have the required minimum level of physical ability to participate in available fall prevention programs (e.g., PIED Program, Tai Chi).
Vivre en Équilibre (VEE) is a new group program that aims to build seniors’ confidence in their ability to prevent falls while keeping them active. It provides them with a range of concrete ways to reduce their risk of falling. This 8-session group program is aimed at seniors who are concerned about falling and who get around with or without mobility aids. What makes this program unique is that it is designed to be offered by specially trained seniors. The program’s peer-led nature is in line with efforts to recognize the social contribution of the elderly.
The main focus of our team’s study was to assess the impact of VEE. A total of 135 seniors with fear of falling were recruited from 12 seniors’ residences to take part in the study. The results of the study show the benefits of VEE for several psychological factors (e.g., feeling of control over falling, perceived ability to prevent falls) and on the person’s level of activity. These benefits were present at the end of the program and several positive effects were still experienced 5 months after the end of the program. This study confirms the usefulness and complementarity of VEE in fall prevention strategies among older Quebecers.
Johanne Filiatrault, Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal
Deposit of the research report: March 2018