Now, keep up to date
with daily feeds of newly posted stories
about America's Seniors...click on the box
Maintaining mobility in older age
December 8, 2010--"Mobility is hugely important in terms of
older people being able to remain
independent," explains Dr Lynn McInnes.
"Reduced mobility can restrict a person's
social life as well as limiting their access
to shops, leisure and other activities.
People fear not being able to look after
themselves and being a burden on others.
Often a cause of this dependence is a
decline in mobility."
The study used innovative methods, such as location
awareness technologies for mapping the
mobility of the oldest-old members (75 years
and over) of an existing 25-year
longitudinal study of ageing.
The daily mobility activities of a fairly active group of
people showed that 70 per cent of the day is
spent sitting or lying, 22 per cent of the
day standing and seven per cent of the day
The furthest distance travelled from their home is on
average four miles, or approximately 23
miles in a single week, spread over five
journeys per week.
As much as 78 per cent of the day is spent indoors
and 14 per cent of the day is spent on
Evidence suggests that sitting most of the time is an
important factor to take into account when
looking at patterns of behaviour. The daily
life of a person includes a combination of
active, non-active or brief activities.
These patterns suggest that changes occur as
people age and starting an activity may be
harder later in the day.
Lead researcher Dr McInnes points out: "New methods are
needed to examine how much activity an
individual does throughout a day. Monitoring
activity levels by using tracking devices
will help to assess the mobility ability of
older people. Additionally, monitoring
health and well-being can help identify
individuals who may be at risk."
In addition these findings highlight the importance of
providing effective transport networks and a
good range of local services to meet older
people's needs," Dr McInnes explains.
"Being able to stay mobile is crucial to older people's
wellbeing, as loss of mobility means the
loss of so many other things from their
lives such as the ability to go shopping,
meet friends and pursue hobbies and
This project has helped to establish a reliable mobility
profile of the oldest-old members of society
by determining where individuals go and how
active they are in the process and shows
there is a clear relationship between
mobility, health and well-being.
It is encouraging to know that old age is not necessarily a
time of ill health, a decline in thought
processes or becoming a burden. Participants
in this study exemplified 'successful