Honors Theses

Advisor

Kimberly E. Bigelow, Ph.D.

Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Publication Date

4-2016

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Abstract

81.1 million adults are expected to be affected by dementia in 2040. Individuals with dementia are twice as likely to fall as healthy individuals and three times as likely to sustain an injury during a fall. Unfortunately, current fall prevention techniques in place for cognitively healthy older adults are not as effective for those with dementia. The objective of this study was to examine balance differences between individuals of varying cognitive ability utilizing Easter Seals Adult Day Services. All study participants completed the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Clinical assessments were done in conjunction with static posturography data collection on a balance plate. Four different quiet standing test conditions were used to assess the three sensory systems contributing to postural control. Of the 16 participants able to attempt balance testing, 12 were able to complete all testing conditions. It was found that, due to multiple cofounding variables, it was difficult to identify a specific correlation between MoCA scores and balance parameters. There was also difficulty in correlating age with balance parameters due to the high variance in the study population. When compared to age-matched community-dwelling older adults the Easter Seals population did not show consistent trends in the results of traditional analysis, however, nonlinear results showed very clear and consistent differences. It is hoped that this study can contribute to a better understanding of balance limitations in the adult day services population and inform future interventions.

Disciplines

Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


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