• Article

Analyzing wheelchair mobility patterns of community-dwelling older adults

This study determined and compared wheelchair mobility patterns for older adults during an organized sporting event and within their community. In July 2008, 39 veterans participating in the 28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games (Omaha, Nebraska) completed the study. Of these, 26 were manual wheelchair and 13 were power wheelchair users. We collected wheelchair-related mobility data using wheelchair data-logging devices. Participants were significantly more active using manual wheelchairs during the games than when using their wheelchairs in their homes in terms of distance traveled (4,466.2 vs 1,367.4 m, p < 0.001) and average speed of propulsion (0.76 vs 0.64 m/s, p < 0.001). The trend was the same for power wheelchair users, with respect to distance (7,306.2 vs 3,450.5 m, p = 0.004) and average speed (0.9 vs 0.7 m/s, p = 0.002). This study demonstrates an objective method of evaluating wheelchair use in community-dwelling older adults.


Karmarkar, A. M., Cooper, R. A., Wang, H., Kelleher, A., & Cooper, R. (2011). Analyzing wheelchair mobility patterns of community-dwelling older adults. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 48(9), 1077-1086.