Functional improvement in older adults after a falls prevention pilot study
Falls are a costly, disabling, and life-threatening risk in the elderly. Improvements in physical function, balance, lower extremity strength, and health-related quality of life are hypothesized to help mitigate fall risk. In this pilot study, six women and men with an average age of 81 years participated in a 6-week exercise and education program created to reduce risk of falls. Evaluations were made at baseline and at 6 weeks on four tests: the Functional Status Questionnaire, the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), the Six-minute Walk Test, and the World Health Organization Quality of Life–BREF 26-question test. Scores indicated significant improvement in functional physical status (activities of daily living), balance, distance walked in 6 min, and quality of life in the physical health domain. The size of this study limits the generalizability of its findings, but its evidence warrants undertaking a larger trial.