Watkins, C, Higham, E, Gilfoyle, M, Townley, C and Hunter, SM (2021) Age suit simulation replicates in healthy young adults the functional challenges to balance experienced by older adults: an observational study. BMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning, 7 (6). 581 - 585. ISSN 2056-6697

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<jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>Age simulation can have a positive effect on empathic understanding and perception of ageing. However, there is limited evidence for its ability to replicate objectively the physical and functional challenges of ageing.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Objective</jats:title><jats:p>To observe whether age suit simulation can replicate in healthy young adults the physical and physiological balance disturbance and falls risk experienced by older adults.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methodology</jats:title><jats:p>Healthy young adults aged 20–40 years (16 male) were recruited to the study using convenience sampling from a student population. Participants performed three validated balance tests—Functional Reach Test (FRT), Timed Up and Go (TUG) and Berg Balance Scale (BBS)—first without the age suit and then with the age suit, using a standardised protocol, following the same sequence.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>30 participants completed all tests. Statistically significant differences between without-age-suit and with-age-suit performance were recorded for FRT distance (p&lt;0.000005), time taken to complete the TUG (p&lt;0.0005) and BBS score (p&lt;0.001). A comparison of participant scores with normative FRT and TUG scores identified that the suit had ‘aged’ the majority of participants to the normative values for older adults (60+), with some reaching the values for individuals aged 70–89. However, no scores achieved the values indicative of increased falls risk.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusions</jats:title><jats:p>The age suit is a valid educational tool that extends the value of age simulation beyond a more general empathising role, enabling those working with an older population to experience and understand the functional challenges to balance experienced by older adults as part of their training.</jats:p></jats:sec>

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. The final version of this accepted manuscript and all relevant information related to it, including copyrights, can be found online at; https://stel.bmj.com/content/7/6/581
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Allied Health Professions
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2021 08:13
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2021 08:13
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/10050

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