Re-inventing the Wheel: A think tank to optimize community mobility

Funded by: Canadian Institutes for Health Research Principle Investigator: Pauli Gardner, PhD (Brock University) Co-investigators: Rudman, D., Treviranus, J., Fels, D., Alvaro, C., Dutta, T. Date: 2016-2018 Project Aim: The overarching goal of our research team is to promote quality of life and full citizenship among older adults with mobility impairments. Key to the success of this initiative is the advancement of knowledge and its translation on how to optimize community mobility for older adults transitioning from independent mobility to the need for, and use of, a mobility device. To help us achieve this goal we propose a planning meeting among mobility experts and stakeholders to scope the current state of knowledge, identify strategies to mobilize knowledge, and generate directions for moving scholarship forward in this area. The specific objectives for the meeting are: What do we know? 1. To identify, discuss and summarize, from various perspectives (e.g., policy, clinical, personal, research), the key factors that influence the adoption and use of a mobility device by older adult users. 2.To share knowledge of strategies, technologies and ideas that facilitate a positive relationship between older adults and mobility devices. How can we use what we know? 3. To identify effective ways to mobilize knowledge into change at various levels (design, manufacturing, funding, clinical practice). How can we improve/build on what we know? 4. To develop innovative ways to study the issue including the impact of new approaches aimed at optimizing community mobility for older adults who require mobility devices. 5. To discuss alternatives and options for designing, developing or improving technologies that support or improve community mobility for older adults. Expected Impact: Due to our cross-disciplinary and collaborative approach and our commitment to the involvement of ‘end users’ (including older adults), we anticipate this meeting will: a) have an immediate impact on the ways in which participants negotiate, make decisions, and practice their ‘craft’ (be it clinical, policy, or research), and b) launch a long-term, sustainable research program that addresses socio-cultural, structural and behavioural aspects related to mobility device adoption and use and successfully promotes a positive relationship between older adults and their devices that, ultimately, will improve quality of life for this population. ​ Conclusion: This innovative and timely project seeks to address a key concern and research gap in mobility research – how to optimize community mobility by fostering a positive relationship between older adults and their (new) mobility devices.

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