Fear of falling and the use of telecare by older people

Lisa S. P. Stewart*, Brian McKinstry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Introduction: Since fear of falling has been linked to self-restriction of activity a further decline in physical functioning and a greater risk of falling, interventions, such as use of telecare, to address a person's fear are essential to reduce the risk of further falls. The aim of this critical review was to evaluate the association between older people's fear of falling and the use of telecare, and whether telecare could reduce this fear.

Method: A search of major databases (1980-2011) identified 424 results and, following screening, 10 articles were included in the review.

Findings: Perceptions of older people about using telecare were mixed: some felt a greater sense of security and reassurance but, for others, confidence levels were not increased. Studies suggest that an automatic fall detector was useful for older people who were unable or reluctant to use a pendant alarm following a fall.

Conclusion: The use of telecare including the wearing of an automatic fall detector, while improving confidence and reducing fear of falling in some, does not suit everyone. A careful assessment of a person's views on his or her falls risk and level of anxiety will determine how telecare can best meet the person's needs to remain supported at home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-312
Number of pages9
JournalBritish journal of occupational therapy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • RISK
  • fear of falling
  • Accidental falls
  • assistive technology


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