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Fall prevention in community settings: results from implementing tai chi: moving for better balance in three States.

  • Author(s): Ory, Marcia G
  • Smith, Matthew Lee
  • Parker, Erin M
  • Jiang, Luohua
  • Chen, Shuai
  • Wilson, Ashley D
  • Stevens, Judy A
  • Ehrenreich, Heidi
  • Lee, Robin
  • et al.
Abstract

Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance (TCMBB) is an evidence-based fall prevention exercise program being disseminated in selected communities through state injury prevention programs. This study: (1) describes the personal characteristics of TCMBB participants; (2) quantifies participants' functional and self-reported health status at enrollment; and (3) measures changes in participants' functional and self-reported health status post-intervention. There were 421 participants enrolled in 36 TCMBB programs delivered in Colorado, New York, and Oregon. Of the 209 participants who completed both baseline enrollment and post-intervention surveys, the average age of participants was 75.3 (SD ± 8.2) years. Most participants were female (81.3%), non-Hispanic (96.1%), White (94.1%), and described themselves as in excellent or very good health (52.2%). Paired t-test and general estimating equation models assessed changes over the 3-month program period. Pre- and post-assessment self-reported surveys and objective functional data [Timed Up and Go (TUG) test] were collected. On average, TUG test scores decreased (p < 0.001) for all participants; however, the decrease was most noticeable among high-risk participants (mean decreased from 18.5 to 15.7 s). The adjusted odds ratio of reporting feeling confident that a participant could keep themselves from falling was five times greater after completing the program. TCMBB, which addresses gait and balance problems, can be an effective way to reduce falls among the older adult population. By helping older adults maintain their functional abilities, TCMBB can help community-dwelling older adults continue to live independently.

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