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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 864516, 6 pages
Research Article

Association between Physical Functionality and Falls Risk in Community-Living Older Adults

1Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
2Faculty of Applied Science, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
3Centre for Research and Action in Public Health, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

Received 5 June 2012; Revised 1 November 2012; Accepted 6 November 2012

Academic Editor: Fulvio Lauretani

Copyright © 2012 Disa J. Smee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ageing-related declines in physiological attributes, such as muscle strength, can bring with them an increased risk of falls and subsequently greater risk of losing independence. These declines have substantial impact on an individual’s functional ability. However, the precise relationship between falls risk and physical functionality has not been evaluated. The aims of this study were to determine the association between falls risk and physical functionality using objective measures and to create an appropriate model to explain variance in falls risk. Thirty-two independently living adults aged 65–92 years completed the FallScreen, the Continuous-Scale Physical Functional Performance 10 (CS-PFP10) tests, and the 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12). The relationships between falls risk, physical functionality, and age were investigated using correlational and multiple hierarchical regression analyses. Overall, total physical functionality accounted for 24% of variance in an individual’s falls risk while age explained a further 13%. The oldest-old age group had significantly greater falls risk and significantly lower physical functional performance. Mean scores for all measures showed that there were substantial (but not significant) differences between males and females. While increasing age is the strongest single predictor of increasing falls risk, poorer physical functionality was strongly, independently related to greater falls risk.