Falls Prevention – Impacts of mobility aids on people with dementia

Dr. Susan Hunter, School of Physical Therapy, Western University
2017 – ongoing

Background and Focus

People who have dementia have more problems with their balance and walking than people who do not. Mobility aids are commonly prescribed to improve a person’s walking but they may or may not be helpful. The purpose of this study is to determine if mobility aids help or hinder persons with dementia.

Participants

Twenty-five participants who use canes and 25 who use walkers were recruited to participate as well as 47 cognitively healthy controls.

Findings

For those with dementia, learning to use a cane or a four-wheeled walker is cognitively demanding and any additional tasks increase the demands have been shown to adversely affecting gait.

Dissemination
Papers/Articles
  1. Hunter S.W., Divine A., Omana H., Wittich W., Hill K.D., Johnson A., & Holmes J. (2019). Effect of learning to use a mobility aid on gait and cognitive demands in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: Part I – Cane. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 71(S1), S105-114.
  2. Hunter S.W., Divine A., Omana H., Wittich W., Hill K.D., Johnson A., & Holmes J. (2019). Effect of learning to use a mobility aid on gait and cognitive demands in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: Part II – 4-Wheeled Walker. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 71(S1), S115-124.
  3. Muir-Hunter, S.W. & Montero-Odasso, M. (2017). The attentional demands of ambulating with an assistive device in older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. Gait & Posture, 54, 202-208.
Posters/Presentations
  1. Hunter S.W., Omana H., Wittich W., Hill K.D., Johnson A.M., Holmes J. Effect of multi-tasking on walking and cognitive demands in adults with Alzheimer’s dementia experienced in using a 4-wheeled walker. International Society for Posture and Gait Research World Congress. Edinburgh, Scotland. June 30-July 4, 2019. (Poster presentation)
  2. Hunter S.W., Divine A., Omana H., Wittich W., Hill K.D., Johnson A.M., Holmes J. Effect of learning to use a single-point cane on gait and cognitive demands of walking in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia. International Society for Posture and Gait Research World Congress. Edinburgh, Scotland. June 30-July 4, 2019. (Poster presentation)
  3. Hunter S.W., Divine A., Omana H., Holmes J., Johnson A.M., Hill K.D., Wittich W. Examining the relationship between visual acuity, executive function and postural control in cognitively healthy adults and adults with Alzheimer’s dementia. International Society for Posture and Gait Research World Congress. Edinburgh, Scotland. June 30-July 4, 2019. (Poster presentation)
  4. Hunter S.W., Divine A., Johnson A.M., Hill K.D., Wittich W., Holmes J.D. Perceptions of mobility-aid use in adults with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers: a qualitative study. World Confederation of Physical Therapy Congress. Geneva, Switzerland. May 10-13, 2019. (Poster presentation)
  5. Hunter S.W., Divine A., Hill K., Holmes J., Johnson A., Wittich W. Effect on spatiotemporal gait parameters of learning to use a wheeled walker in Alzheimer’s disease. Australian New Zealand Falls Prevention Conference. Hobart, Australia. November 18-20, 2018. (Oral presentation)
  6. Hunter S.W., Divine A., Hill K., Holmes J., Johnson A., Wittich W. Effect of multi-tasking on walking in adults with Alzheimer’s dementia experienced in mobility aid use. Australian New Zealand Falls Prevention  (Oral presentation)
  7. Divine A., Holmes J.D., Johnson A.M., Hill K.D., Wittich W., Hunter S.W. Examining the relationship between cognition and balance in Alzheimer’s disease. Canadian Physiotherapy Association Conference. Montreal, Canada. November 1-3, 2018. (Poster presentation)
  8. Hunter S.W., Divine A., Johnson A.M., Hill K.D., Wittich W., Holmes J.D. The effect of multi-tasking and path configuration on walking in older adults with Alzheimer’s disease using a mobility aid. Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Chicago, USA. July 22-26, 2018. (Poster presentation)
  9. Hunter S.W., Divine A., Holmes J.D., Johnson A.M., Hill K.D., Wittich W. Examining relationships between visual acuity, executive function and postural control in cognitively healthy people and people with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Chicago, USA. July 22-26, 2018. (Poster presentation)
  10. Hunter S.W.  Falls Prevention in People with Dementia. St. Joseph’s Health Care, Geriatric Interdisciplinary Grand Rounds, February 1, 2018, London, ON (Oral presentation)
  11. Hunter S.W.  Dealing with Dementia. Western University Faculty of Health Sciences Homecoming Lecture, October 21, 2017, London, ON (Oral presentation)

If you have any questions, please contact Steve Crawford, CEO, McCormick Care Group, at 519-432-2648 ext. 2319, or by e-mail at scrawford@mccormickcare.ca