Exploring purpose-designed audio-visual falls prevention messages on older people's capability and motivation to prevent falls

Lex D de Jong, Andrew P Lavender, Chris Wortham, Dawn A Skelton, Terry P Haines, Anne-Marie Hill
Health & Social Care in the Community 2019 March 18
The number of falls and fall-associated injury rates among older people continues to rise worldwide. Increased efforts to influence older people's falls prevention behaviour are needed. A two-phase exploratory community-based participatory study was conducted in Western Australia. First, three prototype audio-visual (AV) falls prevention messages were designed collaboratively with six older people. Second, the messages' effect on community-dwelling older people's knowledge, awareness and motivation to take action regarding falls prevention was explored using focus groups. Data were analysed using thematic analysis to explore participants' responses to the messages. The participants' (n = 54) perspectives on the AV messages varied widely and stereotypes of ageing appeared to influence these. The presented falls facts (including falls epidemiology statistics) increased some participants' falls risk awareness and falls prevention knowledge. Other participants felt ready-to-use falls prevention information was lacking. Some expressed positive emotions or a personal connection to the messages and suggested the messages helped reduce ageing-related stigma. Strongly opposing viewpoints suggested that other participants identified implicit negative messages about ageing, which reduced their motivation with the messages. Suggestions to improve the message persuasiveness included adding more drama and tailoring messages to appeal to multiple age groups. Overall, the AV falls prevention messages designed in collaboration with older people elicited a divergent range of positive and negative perspectives from their peers, which was conceptualised by the overarching theme 'we all look at things different ways'. Opinions differed regarding whether the messages would appeal to older people. Public campaigns targeting falls prevention should be designed and tailored towards older peoples' differing perspectives about ageing.

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