Using Tai Chi to Reduce Fall Risk Factors Among Older Adults: An Evaluation of a Community-Based Implementation.

Author: Gallant MP1, Tartaglia M2, Hardman S3, Burke K4
11 University at Albany, State University of New York, Rensselaer, NY, USA.
22 New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY, USA.
33 Safe States Alliance, Atlanta, GA, USA.
44 Albany Medical College, NY, USA.
Conference/Journal: J Appl Gerontol.
Date published: 2017 Apr 1
Other: Volume ID: 733464817703004 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1177/0733464817703004. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 153

This study aimed to evaluate a community-based implementation of an evidence-based fall prevention program, in which 131 individuals participated in Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance. Self-report and functional performance assessments included demographics, health and fall history, the Activities-Specific Balance Scale, the Timed Up and Go test, and the Functional Reach test. Pre-post scores were compared with the Wilcoxon signed rank test. The mostly female participants were 73 years old, on average. At baseline, 18% reported being afraid or very afraid of falling, and 18% had fallen in the past 6 months. At follow-up, there was significant improvement in Timed Up and Go ( p < .001), Functional Reach ( p < .01), and Activities-Specific Balance Scale scores ( p < .01). These results demonstrate that a 12-week evidence-based Tai Chi program can be feasibly implemented by novice instructors, is well-received by older adults, and can effectively reduce fall risk when implemented in community settings.

KEYWORDS: evidence-based practice; exercise; falls; program evaluation

PMID: 28398129 DOI: 10.1177/0733464817703004