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.