The goal of this study was to identify methods for characterizing high-functioning older adults living in the community. The subjects were 495 older adults from the Longitudinal Interdisciplinary Study on Aging conducted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology. Physical performance measures included grip strength, walking at preferred and maximum speeds, one-leg standing with eyes open, and finger tapping rate. Performance scores were created by summing each categorical score. Consistent differences were found among age groups and genders. Scores were lower in subjects who had stroke or diabetes than in those without these conditions. These results suggest that physical performance measures have both discriminant validity and construct validity, which make them useful methods for characterizing high-functioning older persons.
Takashi Kinugasa is with the College of Medical Technology and Nursing, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennoudai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305, Japan. Hiroshi Nagasaki and Taketo Furuna are with the Department of Kinesiology, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology. Hajime Itoh is with the Department of Physical Therapy, Ibaraki Prefectural University of Health Sciences.