Life-space mobility - the spatial extent of mobility in daily life - is associated with quality of life and physical functioning but may also be influenced by future orientation expressed in personal goals. The aim of this study was to explore how different personal goals predict changes in older people's life-space mobility.
This prospective cohort study with a 2-year follow-up included 824 community-dwelling people aged 75 to 90 years from the municipalities of Jyväskylä and Muurame in Central Finland. As part of the Life-Space Mobility in Old Age study (LISPE), which was conducted between 2012 and 2014, the participants responded to the Life-Space Assessment and Personal Project Analysis in addition to questions on socio-demographics and health. Data were analyzed using generalized estimation equation models.
The results showed that goals indicating a desire to be active in daily life, to stay mentally alert, and to exercise were associated with higher life-space mobility, and that the associations remained over the follow-up years. Goals related to maintaining functioning predicted higher life-space mobility at the 2-year follow-up. In contrast, goals reflecting improvement of poor physical functioning predicted lower life-space mobility. The results remained significant even when adjusted for indicators of health and functioning.
This study indicates that supporting older people in striving for relevant personal goals in their lives might contribute to a larger life-space and thus also to improved quality of life in old age.