Disability Prevention Program Improves Life-Space and Falls Efficacy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Minhui Liu, Qian Li Xue, Laura N. Gitlin, Jennifer L. Wolff, Jack Guralnik, Bruce Leff, Sarah L. Szanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effects of a home-based disability prevention program on life-space and falls efficacy among low-income older adults. DESIGN: Single-blind two-arm randomized controlled trial. SETTING: Participants' homes. PARTICIPANTS: Participants were low-income cognitively intact older adults (≥65 years old) with restricted daily activities. Our analytic sample for life-space (n = 194) and falls efficacy (n = 233) varied as the life-space measure was introduced 4 months after the trial began. INTERVENTION: Up to six 1-hour home visits with an occupational therapist; up to four 1-hour home visits with a registered nurse; and up to $1,300 worth of home repairs, modifications, and assistive devices with a handyman, during a course of 4 months. MEASUREMENTS: Life-space was measured by the Homebound Mobility Assessment; falls efficacy was measured using the 10-item Tinetti Falls Efficacy Scale at baseline and 5 months. RESULTS: Participants were on average 75 years old, predominantly Black (86%) and female (85%–86%). Compared with participants in the control group, participants receiving the intervention were more likely to have improved versus decreased life-space in areas of bathroom (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 3.95; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.20–12.97), front or back porch, patio, or deck (adjusted OR = 2.67; 95% CI = 1.05–6.79), stairs (adjusted OR = 4.09; 95% CI = 1.34–12.48), leaving the house for any reason other than for health care (adjusted OR = 2.40; 95% CI = 1.01–5.73), and overall life-space (adjusted OR = 2.15; 95% CI = 1.10–4.19). Participants who received the intervention also had an 11% improvement in falls efficacy in performing daily activities (exponentiated coefficient = 1.12; 95% CI = 1.04–1.21). CONCLUSION: Life-space and falls efficacy were improved through a multicomponent, person-directed, home-based disability prevention intervention. Findings suggest that this intervention should be translated into different settings to promote independent aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • disability
  • falls efficacy
  • intervention
  • life-space
  • physical independence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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