This paper describes why older adults begin, continue, and discontinue group-and home-based falls prevention exercise and benefits and barriers to participation. Telephone surveys were used to collect data for 394 respondents. Most respondents reported not participating in group-(66%) or home-based (78%) falls prevention exercise recently. Reasons for starting group-based falls prevention exercise include health benefits (23-39%), health professional recommendation (13-19%), and social interaction (4-16%). They discontinued because the program finished (44%) or due to poor health (20%). Commonly reported benefits were social interaction (41-67%) and health (15-31%). Disliking groups was the main barrier (2-14%). Home-based falls prevention exercise was started for rehabilitation (46-63%) or upon health professional recommendation (22-48%) and stopped due to recovery (30%). Improvement in health (18-46%) was the main benefit. These findings could assist health professionals in prescribing group-based falls prevention exercise by considering characteristics of older adults who perceive social interaction to be beneficial.
Objectives: Social isolation is an increasing concern in older community-dwelling adults. There is growing need to determine effective interventions addressing social isolation. This study aimed to determine whether a relationship exists between physical activity (recreational and/or household-based) and social isolation. An examination was conducted for whether group- or home-based falls prevention exercise was associated with social isolation. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of telephone survey data was used to investigate relationships between physical activity, health, age, gender, living arrangements, ethnicity and participation in group- or home-based falls prevention exercise on social isolation. Univariable and multivariable ordered logistic regression analyses were conducted. Results: Factors found to be significantly associated with reduced social isolation in multivariable analysis included living with a partner/spouse, reporting better general health, higher levels of household-based physical activity (OR = 1.03, CI = 1.01–1.05) and feeling less downhearted/depressed. Being more socially isolated was associated with symptoms of depression and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure (pseudo R2 = 0.104). Discussion: Findings suggest that household-based physical activity is related to social isolation in community-dwelling older adults. Further research is required to determine the nature of this relationship and to investigate the impact of group physical activity interventions on social isolation.