‘Managing pieces of a personal puzzle’ — older people’s experiences of self-management falls prevention exercise guided by a digital program or a booklet

Beatrice Pettersson, Maria Wiklund, Rebecka Janols, Helena Helena Lindgren, Lillemor Lundin-Olsson, Dawn Skelton, Marlene Sandlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Downloads (Pure)


Exercise is effective in order to prevent falls in community-dwelling older people. Self-management programs have the potential to increase access and reduce costs related to exercise-based fall prevention. However, information regarding older people’s views of participating in such programs is needed to support implementation. The aim of this study was to explore older people’s experiences of a self-management fall prevention exercise routine guided either by a digital program (web-based or mobile) or a paper booklet.

This qualitative study was part of a feasibility study exploring two completely self-managed exercise interventions in which the participants tailored their own program, guided either by a digital program or a paper booklet. Individual face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 28 participants (18 women), mean age 76¿yrs. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the data.

Self-managing and self-tailoring these exercise programs was experienced as ‘Managing pieces of a personal puzzle’. To independently being able to create a program and manage exercise was described in the categories ‘Finding my own level’ and ‘Programming it into my life’. The participants experienced the flexibility and independence provided by completely self-managed exercise as positive and constructive although it required discipline. Furthermore, different needs and preferences when managing their exercise were described, as well as varying sources of motivation for doing the exercise, as highlighted in the category ‘Defining my source of motivation’. The category ‘Evolving my acquired knowledge’ captures the participants’ views of building their competence and strategies for maintenance of the exercise. It describes a combined process of learning the program and developing reflection, which was more clearly articulated by participants using the digital program.

This study provides new knowledge regarding experiences, preferences and motivations of older people to engage in home-based self-managed fall prevention exercise. They expressed both a capability and willingness to independently manage their exercise. A digital program seems to have strengthened the feeling of support while creating their own exercise program and tailoring it to their preferences and circumstances, which might therefore create better opportunities for adoption and adherence in the long term.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2019


  • exercise interventions
  • exercise adherence
  • digital health
  • ehealth
  • older adults
  • falls prevention


Dive into the research topics of '‘Managing pieces of a personal puzzle’ — older people’s experiences of self-management falls prevention exercise guided by a digital program or a booklet'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this