To describe the relationship between lower extremity physical performance, self-reported mobility difficulty and self-reported use of compensatory strategies for mobility inside the home.
Cross sectional, exploratory study.
Disabled, cognitively-intact women ≥65 years old (n=1002), from the Women’s Health and Aging Study I.
Main Outcome Measures
Compensatory strategy (CS) scale: No CS, Behavioral Modifications (BM) only, Durable Medical Equipment (DME) with or without use of behavioral modifications, and any use of Human Help (HH); and 3 dichotomous CS measures: Any CS (vs none); DME±HH (vs BM only, among users of any CS); Any HH (vs DME only, among users of any DME/HH).
Self reported mobility difficulty and physical performance were significantly correlated with one another (r=−0.57, p<0.0001) and with the CS Scale (r=0.51, p<0.001 and r=−0.54, p<0.0001 respectively). Sequential logistic regressions showed self reported difficulty and physical performance were significant independent predictors of each category of CS. For the Any CS and DME±HH models, the Odds Ratio (OR) for self reported difficulty decreased by ~50% when physical performance was included in the model, compared to difficulty alone (18.0 to 8.6 and 7.3 to 3.8 respectively), but both physical performance and difficulty remained significant predictors (p<0.0001). The effects of covariates differed for the various CS categories, with some covariates having independent relationships to compensatory strategy, and others appearing to have moderating or mediating effects on the relationship of self reported difficulty or physical performance to CS.
Physical performance, self reported difficulty, health conditions, and contextual factors have complex effects on the way elders carry out mobility inside the home.