Concept mapping applied to the intersection between older adults’ outdoor walking and the built and social environments

AbstractObjective For older adults, the ability to navigate walking routes in the outdoor environment allows them to remain active and socially engaged, facilitating community participation and independence. In order to enhance outdoor walking, it is important to understand the interaction of older adults within their local environments and the influence of broader stakeholder priorities that impact these environments. Thus, we aimed to synthesize perspectives from stakeholders to identify elements of the built and social environments that influence older adults' ability to walk outdoors. Method We applied a concept mapping approach with the input of diverse stakeholders (N = 75) from British Columbia, Canada in 2012. Results A seven-cluster map best represented areas that influence older adults' outdoor walking. Priority areas identified included sidewalks, crosswalks, and neighborhood features. Conclusion Individual perceptions and elements of the built and social environments intersect to influence walking behaviors, although targeted studies that address this area are needed.