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Understanding Functional Mobility and Gait in the Aging Adult

presented by Tamara Gravano, PT, DPT, EdD, GCS, CEEAA

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Tamara Gravano is a faculty presenter and coadministrator of the American Physical Therapy Association Academy of Geriatrics's Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults (CEEAA) course series.

Nonfinancial: Tamara Gravano has no competing nonfinancial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Video Runtime: 38 Minutes, Learning Assessments: 34 Minutes

The motor task of walking is ultimately a product of the characteristics of the individual and their environment. Healthcare professionals must be mindful of all components of gait and strategically integrate appropriate challenges when targeting gait interventions. This is the first of a series of three courses designed to present geriatric gait considerations in a systematic approach. This first course has three chapters, beginning with an overview of the foundations of gait, age-related changes system by system, and postural control, and ending with identifying gait dysfunction that can lead to increased fall risk. The second course highlights evidence-based examination tools and outcome measures, while the third course in the series demonstrates evidence-based interventions to improve gait and functional mobility for the aging adult.

Meet Your Instructor

Tamara Gravano, PT, DPT, EdD, GCS, CEEAA

Dr. Gravano is an associate professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program and is the director of survey research at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. She earned her BHS, MSPT, and transitional DPT from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and completed her EdD in leadership studies (emphasis in higher education…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Gait Characteristics of Aging Adults: Key Age-Related Changes

This chapter discusses the age-related changes in postural control systems, highlighting how balance and stability can be affected as people grow older. It also explores the interrelationship between gait (walking pattern) and cognition, emphasizing how cognitive abilities can influence one’s walking ability and vice versa. Understanding these changes and connections is crucial for addressing mobility issues and designing interventions to promote healthy aging.

2. Functional Ambulation

This chapter justifies the importance of considering gait speed, distance, and environmental demands for aging adults. It examines recent evidence that supports the need to understand the specific ambulation and mobility requirements of older individuals. This knowledge is essential for developing appropriate interventions and designing environments that promote safe and independent mobility, ultimately enhancing the overall well-being and quality of life for aging adults.

3. What Is a Fall? (And How Do Aging Adults Regulate Postural Control?)

This chapter focuses on three important aspects: accurately defining a fall, recognizing fall risk factors (both intrinsic and extrinsic), and comparing anticipatory and reactive postural control. Understanding the definition of a fall, identifying risk factors, and differentiating between anticipatory and reactive postural control are crucial for fall prevention strategies and interventions. By gaining this knowledge, healthcare professionals and caregivers can assess fall risks effectively, implement appropriate preventive measures, and enhance postural control to reduce the occurrence of falls and promote safety in various settings.

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