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      Outdoor built environment barriers and facilitators to activity among midlife and older adults with mobility disabilities.

      The Gerontologist

      Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Architectural Accessibility, Disabled Persons, Environment Design, Female, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Activity, Qualitative Research, Questionnaires, Residence Characteristics, Self-Help Devices, utilization, Suburban Population, Urban Population, Walking, Washington

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          To gain better understanding of how the built environment impacts neighborhood-based physical activity among midlife and older adults with mobility disabilities. We conducted in-depth interviews with 35 adults over age 50, which used an assistive device and lived in King County, Washington, U.S. In addition, participants wore global positioning systems (GPS) devices for 3 days prior to the interview. The GPS maps were used as prompts during the interviews. Open coding of the 35 interviews using latent content analysis resulted in key themes and subthemes that achieved consensus between coders. Two investigators independently coded the text of each interview. Participants were on average of 67 years of age (range: 50-86) and predominantly used canes (57%), walkers (57%), or wheelchairs (46%). Key themes pertained to curb ramp availability and condition, sidewalk availability and condition, hills, aesthetics, lighting, ramp availability, weather, presence and features of crosswalks, availability of resting places and shelter on streets, paved or smooth walking paths, safety, and traffic on roads. A variety of built environment barriers and facilitators to neighborhood-based activity exist for midlife and older adults with mobility disabilities. Preparing our neighborhood environments for an aging population that uses assistive devices will be important to foster independence and health.

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