Physical-performance tests to evaluate mobility disability in community-dwelling elders

Ching Yi Wang, Sharon L. Olson, Elizabeth J. Protas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Scopus citations


    The purposes of this study were to evaluate community-dwelling elderly adults with different levels of perceived mobility with 5 physical-performance tests, determine the cutoff values of the 5 tests, and identify the best tests for classifying mobility status. The community-mobility statuses of 203 communitydwelling elders were classified as able, decreased, or disabled based on their self-reported ability to walk several blocks and climb stairs. They also performed the functional reach, timed 50-ft walk, timed 5-step, timed floor transfer, and 5-min-walk endurance tests. We found in all tests that the "able" outperformed the "decreased" and that the "decreased" outperformed the "disabled," except on the floor-transfer task. The optimum cutoff values of the 5 performance tests were also reported. The 5-min walk and timed 5-step test could best separate the "able" from the "decreased," whereas the 50-ft-walktest could best differentiate the "decreased" from the "disabled. " The results suggest that community-mobility function of older adults can be captured by performance tests and that the cutoff values of the 5-min-walk, 5-step, and 50-ft-walk tests can be used in guiding intervention or prevention programs.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)184-197
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of aging and physical activity
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 2005


    • Aging
    • Older adults
    • Prevention of disability

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
    • Rehabilitation
    • Gerontology
    • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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