An Exploration of the 24-Hour Movement Patterns of Older Adults Living in Naturally-Occurring Retirement Communities

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DiMaio, Julia Misasi
Older adults , 24-Hour movement guidelines , Physical activity , Sedentary behaviour , Naturally occurring retirement communities
INTRODUCTION: Evidence has demonstrated that engaging in a healthy composition of movement behaviours during a 24-hour period is known to harbour numerous biopsychosocial benefits in community-dwelling older adults. Likewise, older adults note a preference to aging in their own homes, rather than relocating to long-term care. Naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs) are a unique housing model that facilitates this preference. When accompanied with supportive service programs, NORCs are ideally positioned to promote healthy movement patterns across the entire 24-hour day. The objectives of this study were to 1) describe the 24-hour movement patterns of older adults (aged 50 years or older) in five different NORCs in Ontario, and 2) explore the relationships among personal factors, environmental factors, supportive service programs, and 24-hour movement patterns. METHODS: A secondary analysis of cross-sectional data collected from a broader study is used to explore the 24-hour movement patterns of NORC residents. Data collected included device-measured activity patterns using a wearable accelerometer, self-report questionnaires, physical performance tests, and built environmental features. Descriptive statistical analysis and between group analyses were conducted using IMB SPSS Version 28. RESULTS: Device-measured activity patterns of 63 individuals revealed that the older adults in this study cohort failed to achieve the recommended behavioural benchmarks outlined in the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines. Significant relationships between the time spent stepping in cadence bands indicative of MVPA and measures of mobility, frailty, and gait-speed were discovered. Likewise, significant results were observed between a number of movement behaviours and site, suggesting that the features of an environment may influence one's activity patterns. Visualization of activity patterns revealed that stepping behaviours often aligned with programming days, times, and type. Stepping behaviours were similar on weekdays and weekends. Older adults were lastly found to be most active during morning hours, although peaks in activity were observed during conventional mealtimes. CONCLUSIONS: Activity patterns revealed by this work demonstrates that there is still work to be done to improve regular achievement of a healthy 24-hour movement composition in community-dwelling older adults. Qualitative research opportunities should be utilized to provide context to the objective measures collected by this work.
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