University of Oulu

Perttila, N. M., Öhman, H., Strandberg, T. E., Kautiainen, H., Raivio, M., Laakkonen, M.-L., … Pitkala, K. H. (2017). How Do Community-Dwelling Persons with Alzheimer Disease Fall Falls in the FINALEX Study. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders Extra, 7(2), 195–203.

How do community-dwelling persons with Alzheimer disease fall falls in the FINALEX study

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Author: Perttila, Niko M.1; Öhman, Hannareetta1,2; Strandberg, Timo E.3,4;
Organizations: 1Department of General Practice and Unit of Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
2Rehabilitation and Care Services, City Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
3University of Helsinki, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
4Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Elderly Care, Espoo, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Karger Publishers, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-09-17


Background: People with dementia are at high risk for falls. However, little is known of the features causing falls in Alzheimer disease (AD). Our aim was to investigate how participants with AD fall.

Methods: In the FINALEX (Finnish Alzheimer Disease Exercise Trial) study, participants’ (n = 194) falls were followed up for 1 year by diaries kept by their spouses.

Results: The most common reason for falls (n = 355) was stumbling (n = 61). Of the falls, 123 led to injuries, 50 to emergency department visits, and 13 to fractures. The participants without falls (n = 103) were younger and had milder dementia than those with 1 (n = 34) or ≥2 falls (n = 57). Participants with a Mini Mental State Examination score of around 10 points were most prone to fall. In adjusted regression models, good nutritional status, good physical functioning, and use of antihypertensive medication (incident rate ratio [IRR] 0.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.54–0.85) protected against falls, whereas fall history (IRR 2.71, 95% CI 2.13–3.44), osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, higher number of drugs, drugs with anticholinergic properties, psychotropics, and opioids (IRR 4.27, 95% CI 2.92–6.24) were risk factors for falls.

Conclusions: Our study provides a detailed account on how and why people with AD fall, suggesting several risk and protective factors.

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Series: Dementia and geriatric cognitive disorders extra
ISSN: 1664-5464
ISSN-E: 1664-5464
ISSN-L: 1664-5464
Volume: 7
Issue: 2
Pages: 195 - 203
DOI: 10.1159/000477394
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
Funding: This work was supported by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland; the Central Union for the Welfare of the Aged; the Sohlberg Foundation; and the King Gustaf V and Queen Victoria Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel. This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND) ( Usage and distribution for commercial purposes as well as any distribution of modified material requires written permission.