Effect of balance rehabilitation on falls and self-esteem in older adults

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Diederich, Austin
Farley, Hannah
Beam, Hannah
Heppner, Megan
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INTRODUCTION: The risk of falling increases as people age. The leading cause of injury in older adults result from falls. Studies show that participating in physical activity and balance exercises can reduce the risk of falls and further have shown that when people participate in physical activity and balance exercises, they have a higher self-esteem. These studies also found that there are more favorable health outcomes in those that have a higher self-esteem. PURPOSE: The purpose of this research was to analyze a person's self-esteem and a measure of balance before and after a balance program. METHODS: Participants above the age of 60 beginning a balance program in a senior center facility were assessed for balance and self-esteem. A Berg Balance Scale was used to determine the participants level of balance, this scale looks at static balance and risk of falls. Self-esteem was assessed using a Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES). This included 10 statements regarding overall feelings of self-worth or self-acceptance and were answered using a four-point scale that ranged from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Scores could range from 10 to 40 and the higher the score, the better the self-esteem. General questions about time spent in a balance program, number of falls and current level of activity were also asked. Answers to these questions and the RSES were returned via the participants preferred method of contact. RESULTS: The initial research proposal included a large physical therapy organization and county organization. COVID related changes impacted the local organizations and eliminated their involvement in this research. Therefore, Empower Physical Therapy was contacted, and they agreed to allow their clients to complete the survey if they desired. The original data collection also had to be changed: from a pre/post Berg Balance Scale and a pre/post RSES. We were only able to collect a post exercise program demographic survey and the RSES. Only descriptive statistics were analyzed. Six clients of Empower Physical Therapy participated. 5 were female; 1 was male. The average age was 77.17 ± 9.432 years and ranged from 61 to 89. Individuals who scored 10 - 27 points on the RSES were categorized as having low self-esteem, those who scored 28 - 32 points were categorized as having average or common self-esteem, and those who scored 33 - 40 were categorized as having high self-esteem. The mean score on the RSES was 30.3/40 and ranged from 24-35. Prior to starting this exercise program, 15 falls were reported by these 6 individuals. After the program, only 1 fall was reported. CONCLUSION: Because of the change in direction of the original research project and the small sample that was obtained, no definitive conclusions can be reached. It would appear that exercise helps older adults reduce their incidence of falls and have average self-esteem.

Presented to the 17th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held online, Wichita State University, April 2, 2021.
Research completed in the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Professions
Diederich, A.; Farley, H.; Beam, H.; Heppner, M. 2021. Effect of balance rehabilitation on falls and self-esteem in older adults -- In Proceedings: 17th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University
Wichita State University
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