Life Space in Older Adults
- Markus Wettstein, Markus WettsteinGeneral Internal and Psychosomatic Medicine, Heidelberg University Hospital
- Hans-Werner WahlHans-Werner WahlNetwork Aging Research and Department of Psychological Aging Research, Institute of Psychology, Heidelberg University
- and Michael SchwenkMichael SchwenkNetwork Aging Research, Heidelberg University
When referring to life space, researchers usually mean the area in which individuals move in their everyday lives. Life space can be measured based on different approaches, by means of self-reports (i.e., questionnaires or diaries) or by more recent approaches of technology-based objective assessment (e.g., via Global Positioning System [GPS] devices or smartphones). Life space is an important indicator of older adults’ out-of-home mobility and is meaningfully associated with autonomy, well-being, and quality of life. Substantial relationships between life space and socio-demographic indicators, health, and cognitive abilities have been reported in previous research. Future research on life space in old age will benefit from a more comprehensive and stronger interdisciplinary perspective, from taking into account different time scales (i.e., short- and long-term variability), and from considering life space as a multidimensional measure that can be best assessed based on multi-method approaches with multiple indicators.