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Aging, ambulation, assisted living, dementia, health status, medical, technology



  1. Bowen, Mary Elizabeth PhD


Purpose: The aim of the study was to examine the characteristics of wandering associated with preserved versus worsened activities of daily living (ADL) function.


Design: Longitudinal prospective design. Twenty-two cognitively impaired residents of an assisted living facility with over 450 observations were followed up to 8 months.


Methods: Hierarchical linear modeling techniques examine how wandering activity (episodes, distance traveled, gait speed), measured by a real-time locating system, may affect ADL (the Barthel index, the Functional Independence Measure [FIM]).


Findings: Wandering episodes were associated with increased ADL (B = 0.11, p <= .05, FIM); wandering distance (B = -4.52, p <= .05, the Barthel index; B = -2.14, p <= .05, FIM) was associated with decreased ADL.


Conclusion: Walking an average of 0.81 miles per week with 18 or fewer wandering episodes is associated with decreased ability to perform ADL.


Clinical Relevance: Tailored protocols that allow productive wandering with ongoing assessment for fatigue/other physiological needs to appropriately limit distance walked within wandering episodes are needed for this population.