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GPS-Derived Daily Mobility and Daily Well-Being in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Timed up-and-go performance is associated with objectively measured life space in patients 3 months after ischemic stroke

Luo M., Kim E.-K., Weibel R., Martin M., Röcke C.


Mobility as a multidimensional concept has rarely been examined as a day-to-day varying phenomenon in its within-person association with older adults’ daily well-being. This study examined associations between daily mobility and daily well-being in community-dwelling older adults with a set of GPS-derived mobility indicators that were representative of older adults’ daily mobility.

Participants wore a custom-built mobile GPS sensor (“uTrail”) and completed smartphone-based experience sampling questionnaires on momentary affective states (7 times per day) and daily life satisfaction (in the evening). Analyses included data across 947 days from 109 Swiss older adults aged 65–89 years.

Multilevel modeling showed that, within persons, a day with a larger life space area, more time spent in passive transport modes, and a higher number of different locations was associated with higher daily life satisfaction but not daily positive or negative affect. Follow-up analysis showed that the daily maximum distance from home was positively associated with daily life satisfaction, providing a first indication that exposure to non-habitual environments might be a possible underlying mechanism to explain the effects of mobility.

Traveling a long distance away from home and visiting diverse locations may be a way to improve life satisfaction. Results are discussed in the context of research on healthy aging.