UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Effects of the Mobility-Fit Physical Activity Program on Strength and Mobility in Older Adults in Assisted Living: A Feasibility Study Yang, Yijian; van Schooten, Kimberley S.; Komisar, Vicki; McKay, Heather Anne, 1954-; Sims-Gould, Joanie; Cheong, Debbie; Robinovitch, Stephen


Physical activity programs focusing on fall prevention often overlook upper-limb strength, which is important for transferring, balance recovery, and arresting a fall. We developed and evaluated a physical activity program, Mobility-Fit for older adults in Assisted Living (AL) that includes upper-limb strengthening, agility, coordination, and balance exercises. Thirty participants (85 ± 6 years) were recruited from two AL facilities; 15 were assigned to Mobility-Fit (three times/week, 45 min/session for 12 weeks) and 15 maintained usual care. Twenty-two participants (11 in each group) completed the study. We compared outcome changes between groups and interviewed participants and staff to explore the effectiveness and feasibility of the program. Among participants who attended Mobility-Fit, knee extension strength increased by 6%, reaction time decreased by 16%, and five-time sit-to-stand duration decreased by 15%. Conversely, participants in the usual care group had a 6% decrease in handgrip strength. Changes of these outcomes were significantly different between two groups (p < 0.05). Participants enjoyed the program and staff suggested some changes to improve attendance. Our results indicate that Mobility-Fit is feasible to deliver and beneficial for older adults in AL and may guide future clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of upper limb strengthening on safe mobility of older adults in care facilities.

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