This exploratory study examined the feasibility of using Garmin global positioning system (GPS) watches and ActiGraph accelerometers to monitor walking and other aspects of community mobility in older adults. After accuracy at slow walking speeds was initially determined, 20 older adults (74.4 ± 4.2 yr) wore the devices for 1 day. Steps, distances, and speeds (on foot and in vehicle) were determined. GPS data acquisition varied from 43 min to over 12 hr, with 55% of participants having more than 8 hr between initial and final data-collection points. When GPS data were acquired without interruptions, detailed mobility information was obtained regarding the timing, distances covered, and speeds reached during trips away from home. Although GPS and accelerometry technology offer promise for monitoring community mobility patterns, new GPS solutions are required that allow for data collection over an extended period of time between indoor and outdoor environments.
The authors are with the Dept. of Physiology and the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 2N2.