Population aging increases the need for knowledge on positive aspects of aging, and contributions of older people to their own wellbeing and that of others. We defined active aging as an individual's striving for elements of wellbeing with activities as per their goals, abilities and opportunities. This study examines associations of health, health behaviors, health literacy and functional abilities, environmental and social support with active aging and wellbeing. We will develop and validate assessment methods for physical activity and physical resilience suitable for research on older people, and examine their associations with active aging and wellbeing. We will examine cohort effects on functional phenotypes underlying active aging and disability.
For this population-based study, we plan to recruit 1000 participants aged 75, 80 or 85 years living in central Finland, by drawing personal details from the population register. Participants are interviewed on active aging, wellbeing, disability, environmental and social support, mobility, health behavior and health literacy. Physical activity and heart rate are monitored for 7 days with wearable sensors. Functional tests include hearing, vision, muscle strength, reaction time, exercise tolerance, mobility, and cognitive performance. Clinical examination by a nurse and physician includes an electrocardiogram, tests of blood pressure, orthostatic regulation, arterial stiffness, and lung function, as well as a review of chronic and acute conditions and prescribed medications. C-reactive protein, small blood count, cholesterol and vitamin D are analyzed from blood samples. Associations of factors potentially underlying active aging and wellbeing will be studied using multivariate methods. Cohort effects will be studied by comparing test results of physical and cognitive functioning with results of a cohort examined in 1989-90.
The current study will renew research on positive gerontology through the novel approach to active aging and by suggesting new biomarkers of resilience and active aging. Therefore, high interdisciplinary impact is expected. This cross-sectional study will not provide knowledge on temporal order of events or causality, but an innovative cross-sectional dataset provides opportunities for emergence of novel creative hypotheses and theories.
To profile participants based on reported outdoor physical activity barriers using a data-driven approach, describe the profiles and study their association with unmet physical activity need.
Cross-sectional analyses of 848 community-dwelling men and women aged 75-90 living in Central Finland in 2012. Barriers to outdoor physical activity and unmet physical activity need were enquired with a questionnaire. The latent profiles were identified by profiling participants into latent groups using a mixture modeling technique on the multivariate set of indicators of outdoor physical activity barriers. A path model was used to study the associations of the profiles with unmet physical activity need.
Five barrier profiles were identified. Profile A was characterized with minor barriers, profile B with weather barriers, profile C with health and weather barriers, profile D with barriers concerning insecurity, health and weather; and profile E with mobility and health barriers. The participants in the profiles differed in the proportion of individual and environmental barriers. The risk for unmet physical activity need was highest among people whose severe mobility difficulties restricted their outdoor physical activity.
Outdoor physical activity barriers reflect the imbalance in person-environment fit among older people, manifested as unmet physical activity need.
To study which individual characteristics and environmental factors correlate with fear of moving outdoors and whether fear of moving outdoors predicts development of mobility limitation.
Observational prospective cohort study and cross-sectional analyses.
Community and research center.
Seven hundred twenty-seven community-living people aged 75 to 81 were interviewed at baseline, of whom 314 took part in a 3.5-year follow-up.
Fear of moving outdoors and its potential individual and environmental correlates were assessed at baseline. Perceived difficulties in walking 0.5 km and 2 km were assessed twice a year over a 3.5-year period.
At baseline, 65% of the women and 29% of the men reported fear of moving outdoors. Poor socioeconomic status; musculoskeletal diseases; slow walking speed; and the presence of poor street conditions, hills in the nearby environment, and noisy traffic correlated with fear of moving outdoors. At the first 6-month follow-up, participants with fear of moving outdoors had more than four times the adjusted risk (odds ratio (OR)=4.6, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.92-11.00) of developing difficulties in walking 0.5 km and a three times greater adjusted risk (OR=3.10, 95% CI=1.49-6.46) for developing difficulty in walking 2 km compared with those without fear. The difference in the prevalence of walking difficulties remained statistically significant over the 3.5-year follow-up (P=.02 and P=.009, respectively).
Fear of moving outdoors is common in older adults and increases the risk of developing self-reported difficulties in walking 0.5 km and 2 km. Knowledge about individual and environmental factors underlying fear of moving outdoors and finding ways to alleviate fear of moving outdoors are important for community planning and prevention of disability.
We examined the association between perceived environmental barriers to outdoor mobility and loneliness among community-dwelling older people. In addition, we studied whether walking difficulties and autonomy in participation outdoors affected this association.
Cross-sectional analyses of face-to-face home interview data with 848 people aged 75-90 years (mean age: 80.1 years; 62% women) gathered within the "Life-Space Mobility in Old Age" (LISPE) project. Self-reports of loneliness, environmental barriers to outdoor mobility, and difficulties in walking 2 km were obtained with structured questionnaires. Autonomy in participation outdoors was assessed with the "Impact on Participation and Autonomy" questionnaire.
Altogether, 28% of participants reported experiencing loneliness sometimes or often. These participants also reported more difficulties in walking 2 km, restricted autonomy in participation outdoors, and more environmental barriers to outdoor mobility than people not experiencing loneliness. Snowy and icy winter conditions (odds ratio: 1.59 [95% confidence interval: 1.15-2.20]), long distances to services (odds ratio: 1.57 [1.00-2.46]), and hills in the nearby environment (odds ratio: 1.49 [1.05-2.12]) significantly increased the odds for loneliness, even after adjustments for walking difficulties, autonomy in participation outdoors, perceived financial situation, living alone, and health. Path modeling revealed that environmental barriers increased loneliness either through direct association or indirectly through restricted autonomy in participation outdoors.
Prospective studies should investigate whether removing environmental barriers to outdoor mobility improves autonomy in participation outdoors and alleviates loneliness among older people.
Stress has damaging effects on individual's health. However, information about the long-term consequences of mental stress is scarce.
This 28-year prospective cohort study examined on the associations between midlife stress and old age disability among 2,994 Finnish municipal professionals aged 44-58 years at baseline. Self-reported stress symptoms were assessed at baseline in 1981 and 4 years later in 1985 and perceived disability in 2009. For the baseline data, principal component analysis was used for differentiation into stress symptom profiles. The regression coefficient estimates for self-care disability (activities of daily living) and instrumental activities of daily living disability were estimated using left-censored regression. The odds ratios for mobility limitation were estimated using logistic regression.
Four midlife stress profiles were identified: negative reactions to work and depressiveness, perceived decrease in cognition, sleep disturbances, and somatic symptoms. We saw a clear gradient of increasing disability severity in old age for increasing intensity of midlife stress symptoms. In comparison with the participants with no stress symptoms, the extensively adjusted left-censored and logistic regression models showed that in old age, disability scores were almost 2-4 units higher and risk for mobility limitation was 2-3 times higher for those with constant stress symptoms in midlife.
Among occupationally active 44- to 58-year-old men and women, perceived stress symptoms in midlife correlated with disability 28 years later. Stress symptoms may be the first signs of decompensation of individual functioning relative to environmental demands, which may later manifest in disabilities.
The aim was to study objectively assessed walkability of the environment and participant perceived environmental facilitators for outdoor mobility as predictors of physical activity in older adults with and without physical limitations. 75-90-year-old adults living independently in Central Finland were interviewed (n = 839) and reassessed for self-reported physical activity one or two years later (n = 787). Lower-extremity physical limitations were defined as Short Physical Performance Battery score =9. Number of perceived environmental facilitators was calculated from a 16-item checklist. Walkability index (land use mix, street connectivity, population density) of the home environment was calculated from geographic information and categorized into tertiles. Accelerometer-based step counts were registered for one week (n = 174). Better walkability was associated with higher numbers of perceived environmental facilitators (p
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To examine which individual and environmental factors correlate with unmet physical activity need in old age and predict development of unmet physical activity need (the feeling that one's level of physical activity is inadequate and thus distinct from the recommended amount of physical activity) over a 2-year follow-up.
Observational prospective cohort study and cross-sectional analyses.
Community and research center.
A total of 643 community-living ambulatory people aged 75 to 81 took part in face-to-face interviews and examinations at baseline and 314 at the 2-year follow-up.
Unmet physical activity need and its potential individual and environmental correlates were assessed at baseline. Development of unmet physical activity need was assessed over the 2-year follow-up period.
At baseline, all participants were able to walk at least 500 m outdoors, but 14% perceived unmet physical activity need. Unmet physical activity need was more prevalent in those with musculoskeletal diseases, depressive symptoms, and mobility limitations. Hills in the nearby environment, lack of resting places, and dangerous crossroads correlated with unmet physical activity need at baseline; the association was especially strong in those with walking difficulties. Significant baseline predictors for incident unmet physical activity need (15%) included fear of moving outdoors, hills in the nearby environment, and noisy traffic.
Unmet physical activity need is common in ambulatory community-living older people who have health and mobility problems and report negative environmental features in their neighborhood. Solutions to overcome barriers to physical activity need to be developed to promote equal opportunities for physical activity participation.