Timed Manual Performance In a Community Elderly Population

Mark E. Williams*, William C. McGaghie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The extent of functional disability measured by performance of a series of simple manual tasks was determined in 1,286 elderly people, aged 66 to 98, who resided in central North Carolina. Missing data left 1,106 subjects for analysis. Poor manual performance was defined by either of two criteria: (1) inability to complete all the test items, or (2) taking longer than 350 seconds to complete the test. Using the first criterion, 113 persons (10.2%) were poor performers. When the two writing items were omitted from the analysis, 28 persons (2.4%) were in the poor performance group. Of the 993 persons who completed all items, 59 persons (5.9%) performed poorly. Using both criteria, the extent of functional disability was 16.1%; excluding the writing items, the extent of poor performance was 8.3%. Compared to those who performed well, those who performed poorly were older, poorer, less educated, more likely to be black, and less healthy. Because manual ability correlates highly with functional dependency and identifies those at risk for increased care needs, the magnitude of manual dysfunction noted in this survey has important implications for care providers and policy‐makers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1120-1126
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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