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Comparison of the SWAY Balance Mobile Application to the BESS Balance Assessment in Older Adults

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AUTHORS: Samantha D. Jansen, Ryan Z. Amick, Danielle C. Stern, and Jeremy A. Patterson, FACSM

ABSTRACT: Balance assessment has commonly been subjective; however, advances in handheld mobile devices have provided objective balance measurement tools. Recently, the SWAY Balance Mobile Application, which utilizes tri-axial accelerometers to determine balance variations, was significantly correlated with the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) for young adults. Older adults have not been assessed.

PURPOSE: Compare the objective SWAY to the subjective BESS balance assessment for older adults.

METHODS: Forty-three older adults (19 male; aged 60.14 + 6.72 years) completed the SWAY and the BESS concurrently. A lower score on the BESS indicates better balance, whereas, a higher score on the SWAY indicates better balance. Correlation analyses were used to determine the relationship between the SWAY and the BESS.

RESULTS: There was a significant negative correlation between the SWAY scores and the BESS scores (r = -0.640, p < .01).

CONCLUSION: SWAY may provide an objective way to assess balance of older adults.