Falls Risks in Older Persons, NSW

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)


    This survey collected information on risk factors associated with falls in persons aged 65 years and over throughout NSW. Information was collected on: risk factors inside and outside the house, home modification, language spoken in the household, ownership of the dwelling, personal lifestyle risk factors, falls history, exposure to advice on how to prevent falls, as well as questions on medical conditions and medicines taken and educational attainment.


    This survey provided essential data on risk factors for falls in older people. With Australia's ageing population, health costs associated with falls in older people may escalate if appropriate prevention programs are not developed and implemented. The information was used for the following:-

    • to develop indicators to monitor risk factors for falls in older people and the incidence of falls
    • to set priorities for action within the health sector and in all "Falls in older people" initiatives involving other relevant sectors;
    • to identify risk factors for falls in older people presenting the greatest risk, to assist in targeting of strategies;
    • to identify sub-groups of the population at greater risk of falling, to assist in targeting of strategies;
    • to assist in planning of pilot then state-wide programs that aim to prevent falls in older people;
    • to evaluate major fall prevention initiatives that have been undertaken at a state-wide level;
    • to disseminate the information to hospitals and other bodies, for area and regional planning of fall prevention initiatives;
    • to provide a tool for advocacy of issues pertaining to falls prevention, through raising public awareness and the awareness of key decision makers.


    The survey was conducted for all usual residents of private dwellings aged 65 years and over, except:

    • members of the permanent defence forces;
    • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated populations;
    • overseas residents in Australia;
    • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.

    Residents of non-private dwellings such as hospitals, motels and jails were excluded from this survey.

    In the survey, coverage rules were applied which aimed to ensure that each persons was associated with only one dwelling hence had only one chance of selection in the survey.


    Conceptual framework

    Not Applicable

    Main outputs

    Publication: Falls Risk Factors for Persons Aged 65 Years and Over, New South Wales (ABS Cat No. 4393.1)


    Standard Classifications were used for Labour Force variables


    Sex - male, female

    Region - formed by aggregation of standard statistical divisions. Minimum level in publication is Sydney, Balance of NSW

    Household type - persons living alone, couple only, other household

    Dwelling structure - separate house, semi detached/row or terrace house/townhouse/villa, flat/unit/apartment, other

    Age - formed by aggregation of standard 5 year age groupings. Minimum level in publication is 65-74, 75+

    Nature of occupancy - Formed by aggregation of tenure type. Minimum level in publication is Owned, rented, other

    Classifications for specific medically related variables were provided by the Department of Health


    Type of injury received when fallen - superficial abrasion/graze, bruising, cut/laceration/puncture, sprains or strains, fractures, other bone, tendon or joint, other.

    Type of medical condition - arthritis, cataracts, other vision problems, diabetes, diagnosed depression, foot problems, heart problems, hearing problems, low blood pressure, osteoporosis, stroke, other.

    Risk factors inside the home - internal steps or staircases which do not have continuous handrails, handrails not fitted in the bathroom or toilet, inadequate lighting between the bed and the bathroom or toilet at night.

    Risk factors outside the home - outside steps or stairs which do not have continuous handrails, places where steps or stairs are slippery or in need of repair, staircases inside the building have insufficient light to see each step as you go down the stairs, any paths that are broken, uneven or slippery, any entrances to the home which do not have outdoor lights, any dark areas such as hallways or corridors which have to be walked through at night before turning on a light.

    Other concepts (summary)

    A 'fall' is defined as having accidentally lost your balance, tripped or slipped and found yourself on the floor or ground.

    New South Wales
    Major Statistical Region
    Part of State Metropolitan
    Part of State Extra-Metropolitan

    Comments and/or Other Regions

    Not applicable

    Once Only

    Frequency comments

    It is not planned to run another Falls Risk Factors survey.


    Data collected as a NSW State Supplementary Survey in October 1995. Collection run once only and there are currently no plans for a repeat survey.


    Data availability comments

    Data is available in the publication Falls Risk Factors for Persons Aged 65 Years and Over, New South Wales (ABS Cat No. 4393.1). Customised data services are available to clients on request.

    02/02/2006 04:44 PM