The purpose of this study was to test the construct validity of the hierarchical levels of self-reported physical disability using health-related variables and physical-performance tests as criteria. The study participants were a community-based sample of 368 adults age 60 years or older. These older adults were grouped into 4 levels according to their physical-disability status (able, mildly disabled, moderately disabled, and severely disabled groups) based on their self-reported measures on the mobility, instrumented activity of daily living (IADL), and activities of daily living (ADL) domains. Health-related variables (body-mass index, number of comorbidities, depression status, mental status, and self-perceived health status) and eight performance-based tests demonstrated significant group differences. Self-reported measures of physical disability can be used to categorize older adults into different stages of physical functional decline.
Ching-Yi Wang, Ching-Fan Sheu, and Elizabeth Protas
Sharon L. Olson, Shu-Shi Chen, and Ching-Yi Wang
To determine exercise efficacy in improving dynamic balance in community-dwelling elderly with a fall history.
Thirty-five participants were randomly assigned to a treatment (TG; n = 19, 77 ± 7 yr) or control group (CG; n = 16, 75 ± 8 yr). The TG received an individualized home exercise program, and the CG received phone calls twice per week for 12 weeks. Participants’ dynamic-balance abilities— directional control (DC), endpoint excursion (EE), maximum excursion (ME), reaction time (RT), and movement velocity (MV)—were measured using the Balance Master at 75% limits of stability. Functional reach (FR) was also measured.
At 12 weeks the TG demonstrated significant improvements in DC (p < .0025), EE (p < .0005), and ME (p < .0005), but the CG did not. No significant group differences were found for MV, RT, or FR.
Excursion distances and directional control improved but not reaction time, suggesting that exercises requiring quick responses may be needed.
Ching-Yi Wang, Sharon L. Olson, and Elizabeth J. Protas
The purposes of this study were to evaluate community-dwelling elderly adults with different levels of perceived mobility with 5 physical-performance tests, determine the cutoff values of the 5 tests, and identify the best tests for classifying mobility status. The community-mobility statuses of 203 community-dwelling elders were classified as able, decreased, or disabled based on their self-reported ability to walk several blocks and climb stairs. They also performed the functional reach, timed 50-ft walk, timed 5-step, timed floor transfer, and 5-min-walk endurance tests. We found in all tests that the “able” outperformed the “decreased” and that the “decreased” outperformed the “disabled,” except on the floor-transfer task. The optimum cutoff values of the 5 performance tests were also reported. The 5-min walk and timed 5-step test could best separate the “able” from the “decreased,” whereas the 50-ft-walk-test could best differentiate the “decreased” from the “disabled.” The results suggest that community-mobility function of older adults can be captured by performance tests and that the cutoff values of the 5-min-walk, 5-step, and 50-ft-walk tests can be used in guiding intervention or prevention programs.
Ching-Yi Wang, Ming-Hsia Hu, Hui-Ya Chen, and Ren-Hau Li
To determine the test–retest reliability and criterion validity of self-reported function in mobility and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) in older adults, a convenience sample of 70 subjects (72.9 ± 6.6 yr, 34 male) was split into able and disabled groups based on baseline assessment and into consistently able, consistently disabled, and inconsistent based on repeat assessments over 2 weeks. The criterion validities of the self-reported measures of mobility domain and IADL-physical subdomain were assessed with concurrent baseline measures of 4 mobility performances, and that of the self-reported measure of IADL-cognitive subdomain, with the Mini-Mental State Examination. Test–retest reliability was moderate for the mobility, IADL-physical, and IADL-cognitive subdomains (κ = .51–.66). Those who reported being able at baseline also performed better on physical- and cognitive-performance tests. Those with variable performance between test occasions tended to report inconsistently on repeat measures in mobility and IADL-cognitive, suggesting fluctuations in physical and cognitive performance.