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Report
Author, Analytic
James, Kenneth; /Gouldbourne, Jacqueline; Morris, Chloe; Eldemire-Shearer, Denise
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Report Title
Falls and Fall Prevention in the Elderly: Insights from Jamaica
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Refereed
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Abstract
Falls among the elderly is increasingly being recognized as an issue of concern in both developed and developing countries. Falls in the elderly may precipitate adverse physical, medical, psychological, social and economic consequences. In Jamaica, there are no exhaustive studies or literature that have fully captured the epidemiology, aetiology or impact of such falls, though there is evidence to suggest that it is an issue that warrants some attention. This paper, through the use of quantitative and qualitative methods sought to gain insights on the situation regarding falls among the elderly in Jamaica. Through literature reviews, canvassing of medicals records, conducting focus groups and interviews, perspectives were gleaned on falls among elderly persons in Jamaica. Contributory and risk factors, and perceptions and costs were explored, as were any existing fall prevention policies or policy thrusts. The emerging picture is that falls are not a rare occurrence among older persons in Jamaica and extrinsic factors such as poor road surfaces, poorly constructed steps and poor design of public transportation vehicles etc. are factors that cause falls in the local setting. Similarly, intrinsic factors related to co-morbid condition such as hypertension, diabetes and sensory impairment appear to also contribute to increased risk of falling. Further research on the issue is needed in Jamaica. So too are specific fall prevention policies and programs and actions to address prevailing concerns. Increased awareness of the occurrence of falls among the elderly and mobilization of efforts to decrease such events is needed, complemented by culturally relevant health education and promotion activities. Synergistic efforts of government, civil society, seniors and communities and households will be required for successful fall prevention. The time for planning and action is now.....
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