From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.
Researcher Emily Bloesch has a possible explanation for the fumbles older people sometimes have. She tested it by watching how younger and older people handled simple tasks involving hand movements.
Bloesch says younger people set a reference frame about where something is by noticing objects in the path to it. But she says older people tend instead to judge where something is in relation to their bodies.
So she advises older people:
“If your reference frame is centered on your body, then moving your body closer to the things that you want to reach for should improve your understanding of exactly where those objects are.”
Bloesch, who’s now at Central Michigan University, did the study at Washington University of St. Louis. The report in the journal Psychological Science was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.
Last revised: July 12, 2013