Online Program

Community wayfinding in older adults: Findings from the chicago wayfinding assessment project

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 11:00 a.m. - 11:10 a.m.

David Marquez, PhD FACSM FGSA, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Michelle Griffith, MS, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Rebecca H. Hunter, MEd, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Lucinda Bryant, PhD MSHA, Colorado School of Public Health, Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
Sarah Janicek, M.Ed., MA, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Research about community wayfinding in older adults is limited but suggests that wayfinding becomes more challenging with age and decrements in cognitive functioning. Given the projected growth in the older adult population, we need to gain a greater understanding of environmental and other features that support or inhibit wayfinding, to enable older adults to remain mobile and engaged in community life for the longest possible time. This presentation will describe results of a CDC Healthy Aging Research Network (CDC-HAN) study conducted in an ethnically varied Chicago neighborhood known as South Chicago to identify factors that enhance and inhibit community wayfinding in diverse older adults. Thirty-five short- (n=14) and long-term (n=21) residents (of whom 5 and 6, respectively, had cognitive limitations) completed a structured interview (demographics, health, function, levels of walking and other activity, confidence in wayfinding); responded to additional questions about wayfinding strategies, barriers, and facilitators including drawing a map; and then accompanied researchers on an audio-recorded “task walk” along a prescribed path while describing how they would tell another person unfamiliar with the area to walk from origin to destination. Using a CDC-HAN tool, researchers previously audited the path to identify wayfinding aids and cues. Based on descriptive statistics and qualitative content analysis, results indicate that these older adults relied primarily on landmarks; street signs, addresses, and building numbers; and information from others to navigate in familiar and unfamiliar settings. We will discuss mode-of-travel-specific differences in wayfinding strategies and implications for subsequent research.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify factors that enhance and detract from community wayfinding in diverse older adults

Keyword(s): Environment, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a Healthy Aging Research Network member center principal investigator, I have been conducting grant-funded community-based health promotion research concerning older adults and the environment for more than 10 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.