Measuring balance in the elderly: validation of an instrument

Can J Public Health. 1992 Jul-Aug:83 Suppl 2:S7-11.


This study assessed the validity of the Balance Scale by examining: how Scale scores related to clinical judgements and self-perceptions of balance, laboratory measures of postural sway and external criteria reflecting balancing ability; if scores could predict falls in the elderly; and how they related to motor and functional performance in stroke patients. Elderly residents (N = 113) were assessed for functional performance and balance regularly over a nine-month period. Occurrence of falls was monitored for a year. Acute stroke patients (N = 70) were periodically rated for functional independence, motor performance and balance for over three months. Thirty-one elderly subjects were assessed by clinical and laboratory indicators reflecting balancing ability. The Scale correlated moderately with caregiver ratings, self-ratings and laboratory measures of sway. Differences in mean Scale scores were consistent with the use of mobility aids by elderly residents and differentiated stroke patients by location of follow-up. Balance scores predicted the occurrence of multiple falls among elderly residents and were strongly correlated with functional and motor performance in stroke patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results