Using a GPS watch to characterize life-space mobility in dementia: A dyadic case study

Jane Chung, Joseph Boyle, Ingrid Pretzer-Aboff, Janice Knoefel, Heather M. Young, David C. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Persons with dementia (PWD) often experience difficulty navigating their environments and performing out-of-home activities. Life-space mobility (LSM) is an effective way of assessing functional levels and independence. We present a dyadic case study to explore the feasibility of using a global positioning system (GPS) watch to measure LSM of a Latino PWD. Methods included travel diary, LSM questionnaire, and qualitative interviews in addition to the GPS-based mobility characterization. GPS data indicated that the PWD made outdoor trips regularly and was active socially, with day-to-day variations. Caregiver and PWD interviews revealed contextual information about mobility patterns captured by other methods. The dyad had positive perceptions of the GPS watch for tracking health and activities. This study demonstrated a use for wearable location tracking technology to support accurate LSM assessment in dementia that can inform nursing practice, policy, and research to promote well-being and delay functional deterioration in PWD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gerontological Nursing
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Gerontology


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