Instruments to Assess Mobility Limitation in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Systematic Review

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Jane Chung
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George Demiris
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Hilaire J. Thompson
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Mobility is critical in maintaining independence in older adults. This study aims to systematically review the scientific literature to identify measures of mobility limitation for community-dwelling older adults. A systematic search of PubMed, CINAHL, and psycINFO, using the search terms “mobility limitation”, “mobility disability”, and “mobility difficulty” yielded 1,847 articles from 1990 to 2012; a final selection of 103 articles was used for the present manuscript. Tools to measure mobility were found to be either self-report or performance-based instruments. Commonly measured constructs of mobility included walking, climbing stairs, and lower extremity function. There was heterogeneity in ways of defining and measuring mobility limitation in older adults living in the community. Given the lack of consistency in assessment tools for mobility, a clear understanding and standardization of instruments are required for comparison across studies and for better understanding indicators and outcomes of mobility limitation in community-dwelling older adults.

Chung is with the College of Nursing, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM. Thompson is with the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Demiris is with the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, School of Nursing, Division of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Address author correspondence to Jane Chung at jchung@salud.unm.edu.

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