Life-space mobility in the elderly: Current perspectives

Jason Johnson, Martin A. Rodriguez, Soham Al Snih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Life-space mobility (LSM) is a concept for assessing patterns of functional mobility over time. LSM is gaining traction in the research of geriatric population health. Several instruments have been developed to measure LSM, such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham Life-Space Assessment (LSA) or the Nursing Home Life-Space Diameter instru-ment. There has been exponential growth in the use of instruments measuring LSM in studies of older adults since the concept was introduced in 1985. In response to the increased volume of publications with clinical applicability to those working in geriatric health or conducting population-based research in older adults, we conducted a narrative review: a) to provide a summary of the articles that have assessed validation of the University of Alabama at Birmingham LSA instrument, the most widely used instrument to assess LSM in older adults; and b) to provide a summary of the research articles that have examined LSM as independent or outcome variable. Studies for this review were obtained with an organized search format and were included if they were published in the past 20 years, written in English, published in peer-reviewed literature, and included LSM as an independent or outcome variable. Seventy-nine articles were identified: 36 that employed a cross-sectional design and 22 that employed a longitudinal/prospective design to examine LSM as outcome variable; 17 longitudinal/pro-spective design articles that examined LSM as primary independent variable; 3 review articles; and 1 systematic review. Areas of research included physical function, cognitive function, sensory impairment, mental health, falls, frailty, comorbidities, healthcare use, mortality, and social/environmental factors. These studies showed that LSM instruments can accurately predict morbidity, mortality, and healthcare use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1665-1674
Number of pages10
JournalClinical interventions in aging
StatePublished - 2020


  • LSA
  • LSM
  • Life-space mobility
  • Mobility
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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