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Falls and Fall Prevention in the Elderly: The Jamaican Perspective



Falls in the elderly may precipitate adverse physical, medical, psychological, social and economic consequences and are an issue of concern in both developed and developing countries. In Jamaica, there are no epidemiological studies on falls in the elderly 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, provides insights on falls in the elderly in Jamaica. Through literature reviews, review of medicals records, and conducting focus group interviews, perspectives were gleaned on falls in elderly persons in Jamaica. Contributory 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 are factors that contribute to falls. Similarly, intrinsic factors related to co-morbid conditions such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus and sensory impairment appear to also contribute to increased risk of falling.

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e-Published: 04 Jul, 2013
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