Internet provision of tailored advice on falls prevention activities for older people: A randomized controlled evaluation
Yardley L., Nyman SR.
Falls are very common in older persons and can result in substantial disability and distress. By undertaking strength and balance training (SBT) exercises, older people can reduce their risk of falling. The Internet offers a potentially cost-effective means of disseminating information about SBT to older people and their carers. A particular advantage of using the Internet for this purpose is that the advice given can be 'tailored' to the needs of the individual. This study used a randomized controlled design to evaluate an interactive web-based program that tailored advice about undertaking SBT activities. The participants were 280 people with an age range of 65-97 years recruited by advertising the website by email and the Internet. Those randomized to the tailored advice were presented with advice tailored to their personal self-rated balance capabilities, health problems and activity preferences. Those in the control group were presented with all the advice from which the tailored advice was selected. After reading the advice, those in the tailored advice group (n = 144) had more positive attitudes (p < 0.01) than those in the control group (n = 136), reporting greater perceived relevance of the SBT activities, greater confidence in the ability to carry them out, and hence stronger intentions to undertake the activities. This study provides an initial indication that an interactive website might offer a cost-effective way to provide personalized advice to some older people. Further research is required to determine whether website-based advice on falls prevention changes behavior as well as intentions and whether the advice needs to be supplemented by other forms of support. © The Author (2007). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.