Fall risk increases with age and visual impairment, yet the oldest-old adults (>85 years) are rarely studied. Partnered dance improves mobility, balance, and quality of life in older individuals with movement impairment.
The aim of the study was to determine the feasibility and participant satisfaction of an adapted tango program amongst these oldest-old adults with visual impairment. Exploratory analyses were conducted to determine efficacy of the program in improving balance and gait.
In a repeated-measures, one-group experimental design, 13 older adults (7 women; age: M = 86.9 years, SD = 5.9 years, range = 77–95 years) with visual impairment (best eye acuity: M = 0.63, SD = 0.6 logMAR) participated in an adapted tango program of twenty 1.5-hour lessons, within 11 weeks. Feasibility included evaluation of facility access, safety, volunteer assistant retention, and participant retention and satisfaction. Participants were evaluated for balance, lower body strength, and quality of life in two baseline observations, immediately after the program and 1 month later.
Twelve participants completed the program. The facility was adequate, no injuries were sustained, and participants and volunteers were retained throughout. Participants reported enjoyment and improvements in physical well-being. Exploratory measures of dynamic postural control (p < .001), lower body strength (p = .056), and general vision-related quality of life (p = .032) scores showed improvements following training.
These older individuals with visual impairment benefitted from 30 hours of tango instruction adapted for their capabilities.
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Madeleine E. Hackney, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Atlanta VA Medical Center Rehabilitation R&D Center of Excellence, Decatur, Georgia; Birmingham-Atlanta VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Decatur, Georgia; and Division of General Medicine and Geriatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.
Courtney D. Hall, PhD, PT, is Associate Professor, Research and Development, James H. Quillen VA Medical Center, Mountain Home, Tennessee, and Department of Physical Therapy, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City.
Katharina V. Echt, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Atlanta VA Medical Center Rehabilitation R&D Center of Excellence, Decatur, Georgia; Birmingham-Atlanta VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Decatur, Georgia; and Division of General Medicine and Geriatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.
Steven L. Wolf, PhD, PT, FAPTA, FAHA, is Professor, Atlanta VA Medical Center Rehabilitation, R&D Center of Excellence, Decatur, Georgia, and Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.
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The authors thank Patricia Clark, PhD, RN, FAHA FAAN, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Georgia State University, for providing critical review of this manuscript and Emory students, Ms. Elizabeth Shaffer, Ms. Rachael Maynard, Ms. Lindsey Richardson, Ms. Casey Bowden, Ms. Shreya Desai, Ms. Chelsea Nacke, Mr. Lee Nielson, Ms. Chandana Papdesu, Ms. Karen Chu, Ms. Katherine A. Lee, Ms. Ludia Chang, Ms. Julie Martin, Ms. Alisen L. Martin, Mr. Nikhil Kundra, Ms. Michelle Izmaylov, Ms. Arlin T. Robinson, and Mr. David Knechtle for assistance with data collection and the dance classes. The study sponsors played no role in the study design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; the writing of the manuscript; the final conclusions drawn; or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
This material is based on work supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development, and the Rehabilitation Research and Development Service. A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Career Development Award (E7108M) supported Dr. M. E. Hackney. The VFQ-25 was developed by RAND and the National Eye Institute funded its development.
Accepted for publication December 18, 2012.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
This paper was accepted under the editorship of Dr. Molly C. Dougherty.
Corresponding author: Madeleine E. Hackney, PhD, Rehab R&D Center (151R), Atlanta VA Medical Center, 1670 Clairmont Rd., Decatur, GA 30033 (e-mail: email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com).