Understanding Fall-Risk Factors for Inuvialuit Elders in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada
Keywords:falls, injury, fall prevention, older adults, Indigenous, Inuit, Inuvialuit, social determinants of Inuit health, case study
Older Indigenous adults in Canada experience disproportionately poorer health outcomes than older non-Indigenous adults. Current fall-prevention literature suggests that older Indigenous adults have higher rates of falls and fall-related injuries; however, no information exists on older Inuit adults’ experience with falls. Using the social determinants of Inuit health (SDoIH) as a conceptual framework, this research sought to understand which of the SDoIH are believed by stakeholders (i.e., local fall prevention programmers [LFPPs] and Inuvialuit Elders) to affect most the likelihood of older Inuvialuit adults’ falls. The findings from the 12 semi-structured interviews and participant observations show that factors related to personal health status and conditions, personal health practices and coping skills, physical environments, social support networks, and access to health services increase older Inuvialuit adults’ likelihood of experiencing a fall. Some determinants, however, decrease their likelihood of experiencing falls (health practices, coping skills, and access to health services), and others, such as culture, were perceived as having little influence on falls. Specific cultural practices were identified as factors that influence the likelihood of older Inuvialuit adults experiencing a fall; however, the overall Inuvialuit culture was not. In light of these findings, we offer recommendations for LFPPs in Inuvik to implement fall-prevention programs that adequately address the SDoIH influencing older Inuvialuit adults’ fall risk and rates.