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Older adults' experiences and perceptions of dual tasking

Muhaidat, Jennifer and Skelton, Dawn and Kerr, Andrew (2010) Older adults' experiences and perceptions of dual tasking. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73 (9). pp. 405-412.

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There is no consensus on which dual task (DT) test best assesses mobility or balance deficits in older adults. This study aimed to explore older adults' experiences and perceptions of dual tasking to identify DTs relevant to their everyday life and that they perceive as difficult or risky. Two gender-specific focus groups were conducted. Six males and nine females, aged 70 years or above, participated. The topics posed to the groups included structured and open questions designed to explore experiences of combining two activities and the consequences of that for balance. The results were subjected to content analysis to identify DT examples, task difficulty levels and balance-threatening tasks. Most participants were able to identify DT examples and some identified a concurrent impact on balance. There were gender differences in the examples: the females focused more on household tasks and the males more on outdoor activities. Many tasks that were considered difficult or risky by the participants do not feature sufficiently in the literature, such as stair negotiation and avoiding moving obstacles accompanied by secondary tasks. The views of older adults should be taken into consideration to help to develop tests that are more sensitive and have face validity.