Decreased Ability to Anticipate Distances Increases Fall Risk Among Elderly

June 24, 2011
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Texas A&M Research reveals that injuries from falls and other accidents among the aging can often be attributed to a decline in ability to mentally esti

Texas A&M Research reveals that injuries from falls and other accidents among the aging can often be attributed to a decline in ability to mentally estimate and anticipate stepping and reaching distances.

Professor Carl Gabbard, director of the Texas A&M Motor Development Laboratory, focused on “estimation of reachability” — whether an object is within or out of reach.
Gabbard explains that before actions are performed the mind simulates the action ahead of time and gives an estimate of the possible outcomes or consequences. You can easily relate that to visualizing a golf shot for example.

In older people, the ability to estimate their capabilities declines. Mostly they overestimate. Activities such as imagery interventions and training specifically targeted at improving cognitive ability can be designed to help train elderly people to cope with this decline in their motor imagery ability, he concluded.