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This article aims at describing, in a Belgian town, the frequency of the fear of falling and of subsequent activity restriction among non-institutionalised people aged 65 years and over, and at identifying persons affected by these two issues.
Cross-sectional survey conducted in Fontaine l'Evêque (Belgium) in 2006, using a self-administered questionnaire.
The participants could fill in the questionnaire on their own or with the help of a third party if needed. The latter were not taken into account in this article. Analyses covered 419 questionnaires. Fear of falling and activity restriction were reported by, respectively, 59.1% and 33.2% of participants. They were more frequent among fallers but also affected non-fallers. In logistic regression analyses: gender, the fact of living alone and the number of falls were significantly associated with fear of falling; gender, age and the number of falls were significantly associated with activity restriction.
Our study, despite various limitations, shows the importance of fear of falling and of subsequent activity restriction among older people, among fallers as well as among non-fallers. It also provides information, though limited, concerning persons affected by these two issues in Belgium, and in other contexts as well. Given the ageing of our populations, it is important to take these problems into account when caring for older people.