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Gerontology & Geriatrics Studies

Using Motor Imagery Training to Improve Reach Estimation in the Elderly: Implications for Reducing Fall Risk

Submission: December 15, 2017; Published: January 08, 2018

DOI: 10.31031/GGS.2018.01.000519

ISSN: 2578-0093
Volume1 Issue4


According to recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, falls are one of the main causes of accidents and fatalities among the elderly. Whereas a several factors may contribute to falls, it has been suggested that weak mental representation of intended actions is a factor. For example, in a reach setting, many older adult’s over- or underestimation reach abilities, thus posing a higher risk due to loss of postural control. The intent of this study was to determine if a reach-specific motor imagery training program could improve reach planning and potentially reduce fall risk. The present study involved a group of 23 older adult participants, aged 65-81 years, divided into three groups: a control group and two intervention groups categorized by age, 65- to 73 years and 74- to 81 years. Intervention groups were administered a reach-specific imagery training program three days a week over the course of 4 weeks. Participants were pre- and post-tested on estimation of reach via use of motor imagery in three conditions: seated, standing-on-2-feet, and standing-on-1-foot. Results indicated that both intervention groups significantly improved their reach estimation, p<.05, whereas the control group scores did not differ. No noticeable difference was seen between the two intervention groups or between reach conditions. These findings suggest that motor imagery training has promise as ineffective tool in reducing fall risk among the elderly.

Keywords: Motor imagery training; Elderly, Falls

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