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Steven L. Wolf and Robert J. Gregor

During the past decade, considerable effort has been directed toward evaluating kinetic responses among older individuals particularly with the intent of better understanding events predictive of or leading to falling behavior. Within this context, neither provision of visual feedback of kinetic responses to angular perturbations to shape postural responses nor the assessment of postural responses to anticipated or unexpected movements following unique exercise interventions, including Tai Chi, has been explored. Generally, the magnitude of vertical loading responses does not appear amenable to conditioning, but an analysis of kinetic changes observed during movements holds more potential as a correlate to the delayed onset of falls among older Tai Chi practitioners.

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Courtney D. Hall, Carolyn K. Clevenger, Rachel A. Wolf, James S. Lin, Theodore M. Johnson II and Steven L. Wolf

The use of low-cost interactive game technology for balance rehabilitation has become more popular recently, with generally good outcomes. Very little research has been undertaken to determine whether this technology is appropriate for balance assessment. The Wii balance board has good reliability and is comparable to a research-grade force plate; however, recent studies examining the relationship between Wii Fit games and measures of balance and mobility demonstrate conflicting findings. This study found that the Wii Fit was feasible for community-dwelling older women to safely use the balance board and quickly learn the Wii Fit games. The Ski Slalom game scores were strongly correlated with several balance and mobility measures, whereas Table Tilt game scores were not. Based on these findings, the Ski Slalom game may have utility in the evaluation of balance problems in community-dwelling older adults.

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Madeleine E. Hackney, Courtney D. Hall, Katharina V. Echt and Steven L. Wolf

Evidence-based recommendations for interventions to reduce fall risk in older adults with visual impairment are lacking. Adapted tango dance (Tango) and a balance and mobility program (FallProof) have improved mobility, balance, and quality of life (QOL) in individuals with movement impairment. This study compared the efficacy of Tango and FallProof for 32 individuals with visual impairment (age: M = 79.3, SD =11 [51–95 years]). Participants were assigned to Tango or FallProof to complete twenty, 90-min lessons within 12 weeks. Participants underwent assessment of balance, dual-tasking, endurance, gait, and vision-related QOL. The balance reactions of participants in both groups improved (p < .001). Endurance, cognitive dual-tasking, and vision-related QOL may have improved more for Tango than FallProof. Group differences and gains were maintained across time. Both programs could be effective options for motor rehabilitation for older adults with visual impairment because they may improve mobility and QOL while reducing fall risk.