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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Measuring the physical activity of older adults residing in assisted living facilities Snyder, Jill Meredith


Extensive research has shown that physical activity can protect against health problems including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, and may reduce the risk or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in older adults. Self-report questionnaires have been valuable in assessing physical activity levels and in determining the effectiveness of activity interventions for older adults in community settings and long-term care facilities. However, little research has examined the accuracy of these questionnaires for people in assisted living facilities. This study examined the validity of the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS) questionnaire and the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) in an assisted living population. Four instruments were used to validate these questionnaires: the SF-12® Health Survey, Six-Minute Walk Test, Short Physical Performance Battery, and pedometers. This study was conducted over a period of three months. Despite significant effort, during that time only four participants completed the study. Due to this small sample size, it was only possible to examine patterns in the data; the validity of the CHAMPS and the PASE in assisted living could not be evaluated. The more important findings from this study relate to the question of feasibility of conducting research in assisted living environments. While it was possible to gather data about physical activity of assisted living residents using questionnaire and performance measures, recruitment proved to be a significant challenge. Key barriers to participant recruitment are identified as wearing a pedometer, using a walker and how walkers are perceived by assisted living residents. These barriers are discussed with respect to future research about physical activity assessment in the assisted living population.

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