Understanding our fear of falling goes digital

NeuRA researchers have created an iPad app to better assess fear of falling in older adults.

Understanding a person’s fear of falling is necessary to properly determine their risk of falling – as these are linked.
Screenshot from the iconFES app
“Fear of falling is very common in older adults and can have a substantial impact on a person’s quality of life,” says Dr Kim Delbaere, the lead researcher behind the app.

“Using the iconFES app will make assessing this fear and creating targeted fall prevention strategies easier for GPs and clinicians and more accessible to those at risk of falling,” she says.

Many instruments are available to measure fear of falling in older adults, but iconFES is the first tool to use pictures to gauge the level of concern people have about falling during different daily situations.

Designed for use by clinicians and doctors, the app allows for quick and reliable assessments and means the results can be shared with patients immediately.

“We hope that access to a quick and easy app like iconFES means that more GPs and clinicians will regularly assess fear of falling in older patients,” says Dr Delbaere.

“iconFES records accurate data essential for assessing fall risk and creating fall prevention strategies, and trials also indicate that people find the app both simple and fun,” she says.

Dr Delbaere plans to release a series of apps that will measure other factors known to be associated with falling, such as response time, balance and cognitive performance.