Life-Space Mobility: Normative Values from a National Cohort of U.S. Older Adults

Alexander X. Lo, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Virginia G. Wadley, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Cynthia J. Brown, LSU Health Sciences Center - New Orleans
D Leann Long, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Michael Crowe, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Virginia J. Howard, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Richard E. Kennedy, University of Alabama at Birmingham


BACKGROUND: Life-space mobility, which measures the distance, frequency, and independence achieved as individuals move through their community, is one of the most important contributors to healthy aging. The UAB Life-Space Assessment (LSA) is the most commonly used measure of life-space mobility in older adults, yet United States national norms for LSA have not previously been reported. This study reports such norms based on age and sex among community-dwelling older adults. METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis using data from the national REasons for Geographic and Racial Disparities in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort study. LSA data were available for 10,118 Black and White participants over age 50, which were grouped by age (in 5-year increments) and sex, weighted for the US national population. Correlations were calculated between LSA and measures of functional and cognitive impairment and physical performance. RESULTS: The weighted mean LSA ranged from 102.9 for 50- to 54-year-old males to 69.5 for males age 85 and older, and from 102.1 for 50- to 54-year-old females to 60.1 for females age 85 and older. LSA was strongly correlated with measures of timed walking, activities of daily living, cognition, depressive symptoms, and quality of life (all p-values <0.001). CONCLUSIONS: We report US national norms for LSA among community-dwelling Black and White older adults. These norms can serve as a reference tool for determining if clinical and research samples have greater or lesser life-space mobility than typical older adults in the US for their age and sex.