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Title:Teaching Older Adults How to Fall Safely
Author(s):Moon, Yaejin
Director of Research:Sosnoff, Jacob J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Sosnoff, Jacob J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Wilund, Kenneth; Hernandez, Manuel E.; Stine-Morrow, Elizabeth A. L.
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Falls, Impact, Training, Injury
Abstract:Despite decades of scientific scrutiny on fall prevention, falls are still common and potentially disastrous. A novel approach that could augment current procedures is to teach older adults movement strategies to fall safely. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether older adults can learn a safe falling-strategy (“tuck-and-roll”) to reduce the risk of fall- related injuries. Consistent with the principles of motor learning, learning was quantified with changes in impact severity parameters following training (aim 1), transfer of the falling strategy to the untrained side (aim 2) and 1-week retention (aim 3). 17 healthy older individuals participated (age: 64.3±4.4 years, 14 males). Participants were randomly assigned into either training group (n=9) or active control group (n=8). All participants performed standardized sideway falls for baseline, post-test and 1-week retention test. During the falling assessments, kinetic and kinematic impact severity parameters were measured. The results for short-term learning revealed that while both groups showed significant reduction of impact severity at post-test compared to the baseline, the training group showed greater reduction than the control group. Also, there was no significant difference in impact severity between trained-side and untrained-side falls suggesting there was bilateral transfer effect. The 1-week retention test revealed that there was partial retention effect of the training. Collectively, we conclude that the reduction of impact severity measurements in the training group might be due to effectiveness of the tuck-and-roll strategy. Furthermore, the participants were able to bilaterally transfer and partially retain the effectiveness of the training. However, the current study also observed potential risks of the tuck-and-roll strategy, such as head impact, when the strategy was not performed properly. Given the promising results of the current study, developing a comprehensive training program to teach safe landing strategy for older adults maybe an important step for fall related injury prevention.
Issue Date:2018-04-13
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Yaejin Moon
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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