Characterizing the shoulder physical abilities of independently living retirees: influences on quality of life, built environments, and future living space designs


Despite a large prevalence of shoulder pain in senior populations, little research has focused on understanding how people experiencing this pain adapt to perform tasks of daily living.


The purpose of this research is to identify movement differences in independent living elderly between those with healthy shoulders and those with shoulder pain during specific activities of daily living, by determining rotational forces at the shoulder and using a computer model to estimate how the muscles are working.

Summary of findings

Thirty-two right hand dominant participants were recruited from the community of Kitchener/Waterloo and ranged in age from 60-100 years. A screening process was conducted prior to data collection to determine if the participant showed signs of shoulder injury. This study used the motion capture system (VICON) to collect and process all the data.

If it is possible to determine how those living with shoulder pain manage to complete activities of daily living, then it may be possible to keep seniors with these types of injuries living more comfortably and independently.

Project members: 
Undergraduate Fellow
Faculty Supervisor
Project time line: 
September, 2010 to December, 2010
Last updated: January 08, 2017