SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1990

Video Recording of Spontaneous Falls of the Elderly


Falls and unsteadiness of gait are major problems faced by many elderly people. With the exception of some stairway accidents, there are no actual recordings of falls of elderly people. A recording system consisting of four video cameras and five videotape recorders, controlled by a computer, was used to continuously monitor activity in the lobby of a geriatric complex. Whenever a fall occurred all of the tape drives were stopped. The video record of the fall was subjected to an analysis by a multidisciplinary team. During the 15 months of surveillance, 25 falls by 17 persons were recorded on videotape. Nine men and eight women fell. The average age of the persons who fell was 81.1 years. Three quarters of the falls occurred in the elevator lobby of the geriatric complex. The causes of falls, as observed from the videotapes, are complex. Based on the videotape of the fall, the falls could be classified generally into those where the predominant factor was due to environmental or external conditions (N = 9 or 36%), behavioral factors (N = 1), or intrinsic factors (N = 15 or 60%). The ability to repeatedly examine falls is of value to scientists, educators, architects, administrators of geriatric facilities, and others involved in risk control for health and safety.

Author Information

Holliday, PJ
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Fernie, GR
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Gryfe, CI
Gryfe Health Services Consultants, Inc., Toronto, Canada
Griggs, GT
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Developed by Committee: F13
Pages: 7–16
DOI: 10.1520/STP15497S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5156-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1408-1