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Associations between falls and general health, nutrition, dental health and medication use in Swedish home‐dwelling people aged 75 years and over

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The vast majority of elderly people in Sweden live in private homes in their communities for as long as possible. Poor health and a high risk of falls are very common among this group. This cross‐sectional study investigates the association between falls and general health, appetite, dental health, and the use of multiple medications among home‐dwelling men and women aged ≥75 years. Data were collected between October 2008 and March 2009 using a postal questionnaire. A total of 1243 people participated in the questionnaire survey (74% response rate), of which 1193 were included in the analysis. The majority of participants were women (n = 738, 62%). Falls in the previous 12‐month period were reported by 434 (36%) participants. Most fallers (n = 276, 64%) were women. The majority of the fallers lived in a flat (n = 250, 58%). Poor health (aOR: 1.61; CI: 1.34–1.95), poor dental health (aOR: 1.22; CI: 1.07–1.39) and the use of four or more types of medication daily (aOR: 1.13; CI: 1.03–1.25) were significantly associated with falls in all participants. Poor dental health was found irrespectively of living in a flat (aOR: 1.23; CI: 1.04–1.46) or living in a house (aOR: 1.28; CI: 1.02–1.61), and both were significantly associated with falls. The use of more than four different types of medication daily (aOR: 1.25; CI: 1.11–1.41) was associated with falls for those living in a flat. The results highlight that falls are associated with poor general health, poor dental health and the use of four or more types of medication daily. Health professionals should provide health promotion education and investigate dental health and risk factors for oral disease. Likewise, medical and clinical practices of physicians and community care nurses should include assessing the risk of falling, and treatment that predisposes falls.
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Keywords: cross‐sectional study; dental health; falls; general health; multiple medication

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2015

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