Your holiday homework . . . . look for the gait clues Ivo and Shawn have talked about this year (*see below)
Dual tasking and neurocognitive decline.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is considered a predementia state associated with a 10-fold increased risk of progression to dementia. Dual tasking during gait may help predict neurocognitive decline.
So, When you are around aging family this holiday season, pay close attention to them when moving about around them. Dual tasking during gait should not be difficult for most healthy folks, but if you add in things that the aging population are challenged with (things like physical weaknesses, mild vestibular challenges, visual challenges , mild neuropathy, cold feet, proprioceptive losses) and then throw in some dual tasking (talking, carrying bags) we can often bring out predictors of future decline.
Remember, falls in the elderly are huge predictors of near term morbidity.
* Look for the clues during dual tasking or during intimidating situations (ie, crossing a busy street), look for things like slowing of gait, wider or narrower step width, shorter steps, frustration, confusion, reaching for support (grapping your hand or arm), stopping, shuffling, arresting of talk to negotiate an area, etc.
"A dual-task gait test evaluating the cognitive-motor interface may predict dementia progression in older adults with MCI (mild cognitive impairment)."
Association of Dual-Task Gait With Incident Dementia in Mild Cognitive Impairment
Results From the Gait and Brain Study. Manuel M. Montero-Odasso et al.
JAMA Neurol. 2017 Jul; 74(7): 857–865.