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Mismatches between the home environment and physical capabilities among community-living older persons.

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

Author: Gill, T. M.
Type: Journal Article
Year: 1999

Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether environmental hazards related to transfers, balance, and gait are any less prevalent in the homes of older persons with specific deficits in physical capabilities than they are in the homes of older persons without the same deficits.DESIGN: Cross-sectional study of a population-based cohort. SETTING: The general community in New Haven, Connecticut. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1088 persons, aged 72 years and older, who had an environmental assessment of their homes. MEASUREMENTS: Each participant underwent a physical performance assessment and comprehensive interview to document the presence of underlying deficits in physical capabilities. Items from the environmental assessment that were potentially hazardous for participants with specific deficits in transfers, balance, or gait were identified.RESULTS: With the exception of no grab bars in the tub/shower, environmental hazards were as prevalent in the homes of participants with specific deficits in physical capabilities as they were in the homes of participants without the same deficits, and, in many cases, they were actually more prevalent. Among participants with and without observed difficulty standing from a chair, for example, the prevalence of a low lying chair was 24% versus 14% (x(2) = 13.4; P <.001), respectively. Among participants with and without an observed deficit in turning, the prevalence of an obstructed pathway was 47% versus 37% (x(2) = 8.7; P =.003), respectively; and the prevalence of loose throw rugs was 72% in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: If the epidemiologic link between environmental hazards and adverse functional outcomes can be strengthened, then interventions designed to enhance the everyday function of frail, older persons should focus on the environment as well as the individual.

Further Details

Full Title: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Pages: 88-92
Volume: 47
Issue: 1
Accession Number: 13.5.03
Keywords: North America, older, mobility, assessment
Reads: 164
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