Vol. 2 No. 2 (2019): International Journal of Aging Research
Research Articles

An evaluation of a walking and socialization program in long-term care: Impact on injurious falls

Lilian U Thorpe MD, PhD1, Susan J. Whiting PhD2*, Vanina PM Dal Bello-Haas PhD3, Thomas Hadjistavropoulos PhD4.
1Department of Community Health & Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Canada; Rm 3247, E-Wing Health Sciences, 104 Clinic Place, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 2Z4, Canada; 2College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, Rm 3124 E-Wing Health Sciences, 104 Clinic Place, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 2Z4, Canada; 3School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, 1400 Main Street West, 403/E, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 1C7, Canada; 4Department of Psychology and Centre on Aging and Health, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4S 0A2, Canada.
  • Walking; Falls; Long-term care; Longitudinal studies
How to Cite
Lilian U Thorpe MD, PhD1, Susan J. Whiting PhD2*, Vanina PM Dal Bello-Haas PhD3, Thomas Hadjistavropoulos PhD4. (2019). An evaluation of a walking and socialization program in long-term care: Impact on injurious falls. International Journal of Aging Research, 2(2), 31. https://doi.org/10.28933/ijoar-2019-03-0405


The effects of a walking program in long-term care (LTC) are affected by multiple comorbidities and the LTC milieu. We randomly assigned residents 60 years and older into three groups (walking, socializing and control). Interventions were delivered five days weekly up to 30 minutes daily. Measurements were performed at baseline, 8, 16, 24 and 32 weeks, and included falls, grip strength, Berg Balance Scale, Senior Fitness Test, and Geriatric Depression Scale Short Form. Survival analysis with 168 participants for time to first injurious fall showed a significant (p=0.001) interaction between age and sex, with fall risk increasing with age in females, but lowest in the oldest age group in males. The hazard ratio for first injurious fall was more than doubled by the use of an antidepressant (HR=2.198, p=0.005), decreased by the score on the Berg Balance high fall risk rating (HR=0.471, p=0.010), but not affected by the activity-socialization intervention. The increased hazard of injurious falls related to antidepressants, but not depressive symptoms, suggests that the high prevalence of antidepressants in LTC needs re-evaluation. Further research efforts will need to control for alternate physical activities.

This work was supported by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Health Research (SHRF) Team Grant. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01277809


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