This study explores differences in the out-of-home behavior of community-dwelling older adults with different cognitive impairment. Three levels of complexity of out-of-home behavior were distinguished: (a) mostly automatized walking behavior (low complexity), (b) global out-of-home mobility (medium complexity), and (c) defined units of concrete out-of-home activities, particularly cognitively demanding activities (high complexity). A sample of 257 older adults aged 59 to 91 years (M = 72.9 years, SD = 6.4 years) included 35 persons with early-stage Alzheimer's disease (AD), 76 persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 146 cognitively healthy persons (CH). Mobility data were gathered by using a GPS tracking device as well as by questionnaire. Predicting cognitive impairment status by out-of-home behavior and a range of confounders by means of multinomial logistic regression revealed that only cognitively demanding activities showed at least a marginally significant difference between MCI and CH and were highly significant between AD and CH.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The Study “The Use of Advanced Tracking Technologies for the Analysis of Mobility in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Cognitive Diseases” (abbreviated as Senior Tracking/SenTra) was supported by the German Research Foundation between 2008 and 2011, based on a grant to Hans-Werner Wahl (WA809/11-1). We would like to thank our geography partners in Germany—in particular, Dr. Tim Freytag—for their valuable support regarding the GPS/GIS data collection. Heike Hercher has provided the expert rating for distinguishing cognitively demanding activities in her Master’s thesis in Psychology. Additionally, we would like to thank Katharina Hager, Heike Hercher, Hannah Schmidt-Friderichs, and Johanna Martinez-Slebi for great support in collecting and processing the data of the project. We are also very thankful to the older adults who have participated in the study.
© 2012 The Author(s).
- Alzheimer's disease
- GPS tracking technology
- mild cognitive impairment
- old age
- out-of-home behavior