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Hacia la Promoción de la Salud

Print version ISSN 0121-7577

Abstract

CURCIO, Carmen Lucía; CORRIVEAU, Hélène  and  BEAULIEU, Marie. MEANING AND FEAR OF FALLING PROCESS IN THE ELDERLY. Hacia promoc. Salud [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.2, pp.32-51. ISSN 0121-7577.

Introduction: The fear of falling is a great worry for both, the elderly and their families and the health professionals. All its consequences are important for the health, welfare and quality of life of the elderly. Most of the studies have been developed from an epidemiologic perspective and only some rare exceptions from the qualitative perspective. Materials and methods: A qualitative method of the grounded theory was used. A theoretical sampling in different stages (open, discriminated and selective) was carried out in order to achieve saturation of the emergent concepts. The interviews were performed to 37 older than 60 people in three cities in the Colombian Coffee Region. The analysis respects the principles of the grounded theory: open, axial and selective coding for the construction of the theoretical model. Results and discussion: The fear of falling is a difficult to define, vague and ambiguous concept. The participants recall a vague, without a precise objective or evident cause fear whose threat is dark, hazy, with limited duration and accompanied by helplessness feelings. The fear of falling in the elderly generates a lot of anguish and in order to control it they have to transform it in secondary fears. The management of the fear of falling is a process that demands a reorganization of daily life and has an imminently biographic character: to face this fear the elderly make adjustments that allow them to incorporate in their lives both, the fear of falling and the changes it brings along. These changes harmonize through interactions. Conclusion: The fear of falling is a feeling that deeply modifies the relationship of an elderly with himself and with his environment. This way, the fear of falling in the elderly is more than an emotion and its management implies changes: biographic adjustments and daily life reorganization. These changes are built through interactions that develop in different spheres of the social life. This new way to conceive the fear of falling imposes new challenges for its management and to avoid the negative consequences.

Keywords : Fear to fall down; biographic adjustment; routinization; interaction.

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