Seniors face increasing challenges to mobility as they age. But a little advance planning can go a long way toward helping older adults stay independent and improving their quality of life. Battelle’s Aging & Gerontology team worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate a mobility planning tool aimed at helping seniors prepare for the future. Most people will eventually face some form of mobility challenge as they age, whether it is a physical problem that makes walking difficult or changes in vision or cognition that limit driving. However, planning for these changes can help seniors maintain mobility for as long as possible and remain active in their communities.
The mobility planning tool addresses three key aspects of mobility:
Self: the ability to perform activities of daily living
Home: the ability to safely navigate the home environment
Community: the ability to go where you need to go outside the home
The four-page planning tool is designed to help seniors take actionable steps to preserve their health and mobility, reduce the risk of mobility-impairing accidents, and identify outside resources that could allow them to remain independent longer. For example:
Starting a physical activity regimen to maintain strength, balance and flexibility
Making changes in the home to reduce trip-and-fall hazards or make commonly needed items more accessible
Looking into transportation resources that will be available if driving is restricted
Battelle conducted an efficacy study to determine whether the planning tool increased the intention to take mobility-protective actions and plan for future mobility challenges among seniors between the ages of 60 and 74. Taking steps to preserve mobility at this age can significantly increase the length of time that people are able to take care of themselves independently, remain in their homes and stay active in their communities.
With one in four U.S. residents projected to be over 65 by 2060, research into aging and mobility is of critical importance. Researchers at Battelle are working on a number of projects to help older adults stay healthy, independent and happy. In addition to their work on the mobility planning tool, the Battelle Aging and Gerontology team is tackling challenges ranging from smart transportation solutions for an older population to the development of healthcare quality measures for elderly patients.
To read more about the mobility planning tool and the results of Battelle’s efficacy study, download the full case study here.