Abstracts: January 17th, 2011

A decline in health is often a major worry as people grow older. People fear not being able to look after themselves and being a burden to others. Often a cause of this dependence is a decline in mobility. This report presents findings about mobility patterns in successfully ageing adults. It also assesses the relationship between mobility, health and lifestyle.

Ageing is generally associated with a decrease in mobility and social interaction and this decrease can be dependent upon various health and social factors. However sustained levels of activity are important for successful ageing and those for whom mobility is a problem suffer in a variety of ways.

Social lives can be restricted and the less mobile become more limited in terms of their access to nutrition, leisure and other activities leading to dependence on others for visits to shops and to use other services. This report describes mobility patterns of older people and maps the mobility of a surviving cohort of ‘oldest old’ as they move through their world.

The new mobility measures identified in the report, together with indices of health and lifestyle will also help to identify older adults at risk.