Walker use, but not falls, is associated with lower physical functioning and health of residents in an assisted-living environment.

Daniel A. Andersen, Bernard A. Roos, Damian C. Stanziano, Natasha M. Gonzalez, Joseph F. Signorile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


The relationship between perceived health and walker use has seldom been addressed. Concerns over falls and falls risk are precursors to walker use. We compared the SF-36 scores of 26 women and 14 men, mean age 86.8 +/- 6.0 years based on walker use and faller status. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with age as the covariate, compared groups for the SF-36 constructs and totals score. Significant differences were noted between walker users and nonusers in physical functioning, role limitations due to physical problems, general health, and the total SF-36 score. Pairwise comparisons favored nonusers, while no differences were seen due to faller status. Walker use is associated with lower self-perceptions of physical functioning, role limitations due to physical problems, and general health in assisted-living residents. Faller status is not associated with self-perceived health status. Although walker use aids mobility and lowers the probability of falls, further research is needed to determine if the prescription of assistive devices has a more negative impact on self-perceived health than does falling. This possibility could be explained, in part, by the greater activity levels of those individuals who do not depend on walkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-137
Number of pages15
JournalClinical interventions in aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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