"Are You Sure?": Lapses in Self-Reported Activities Among Healthy Older Adults Reporting Online

J Appl Gerontol. 2016 Jun;35(6):627-41. doi: 10.1177/0733464815570667. Epub 2015 Feb 9.


Accurate retrospective reporting of activities and symptoms has been shown to be problematic for older adults, yet standard clinical care relies on self-reports to aid in assessment and management. Our aim was to examine the relationship between self-report and sensor-based measures of activity. We administered an online activity survey to participants in our ongoing longitudinal study of in-home ubiquitous monitoring. We found a wide range of accuracies when comparing self-report with time-stamped sensor-based data. Of the 95 participants who completed the 2-hr activity log, nearly one quarter did not complete the task in a way that could potentially be compared with sensor data. Where comparisons were possible, agreement between self-reported and sensor-based activity was achieved by a minority of participants. The findings suggest that capture of real-time events with unobtrusive activity monitoring may be a more reliable approach to describing behavioral patterns and meaningful changes in older adults.

Keywords: in-home monitoring; self-report assessments; technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Behavioral Symptoms / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Home Care Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory* / methods
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory* / standards
  • Remote Sensing Technology / methods
  • Self Report / standards*
  • Self-Assessment
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • United States