Elderly Mobility Scale

Elderly Mobility Scale
Written by Smiling Senior

What Is The Elderly Mobility Scale?

The Elderly Mobility Scale is a metric used to assess the mobility of more frail elderly persons. The scale is standardized. Health professionals such as physiotherapists and other professionals in geriatric care can refer to it to determine and monitor mobility in elderly persons. For instance, they would use it to determine the mobility of an elderly person before the start of treatment and then re-assess them at the end of treatment. After which they would compare total scores. This way they would be able to effectively measure how well the treatment worked. This is another useful tool for determining what sort of mobility aids an elderly person may require.  This helps them have have a better quality of life.


How Is the Elderly Mobility Scale Used?

The Elderly Mobility Scale is a score that is given to an elderly person from 0-20 to determine level of mobility. 20 would be the best and indicate a better performance, whereas 0 would be the least and indicate no mobility. The scale comprises of 7 categories of functional performance. Each assigned a score based on the assessment given. The 7 categories of functional performance are as follows:

  • Lying To Sitting
  • Sitting To Lying
  • Sit To Stand
  • Standing
  • Gait
  • Timed Walk
  • Functional Reach


Benefits Of Using The Elderly Mobility Scale

The benefits of using the Elderly Mobility Scale to assess mobility are as follows: First, it is a very reliable assessment. It is an inter-rater assessment which means there is a large agreement or consensus amongst health care professionals to use this assessment. Secondly, it is a valid assessment. By saying valid, this has two main points which are that it is predictive and concurrent. Furthermore, there is minimal training required for health care professionals to be able to properly administer the assessment. The test is very functional and is a significant test. In 2007 a study was conducted on the usefulness of using the Elderly Mobility Scale for classifying residential placements.

Here is an example of a Functional Independence Measure assessment. Although this is not the Elderly Mobility Scale, it gives you an idea of what the assessment may look like when it is completed:


Equipment Required & Space Needed

Basic equipment is required for health care professionals to complete the assessment. The equipment required is as follows:

  • Meter Rule
  • Stop Watch
  • Access To a Bed and Chair
  • A usual walking aid

A standard room will be required with enough space to complete a 6 meter walk. Within the room, there should be enough space for a bed, a chair, and the room must have a wall to administer the assessment. The test takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

The Printable Elderly Mobility Scale Worksheet

Lying To Sitting2 - Independent
1 - Needs help of 1 person
0 - Needs help of 2+ people
Sitting To Lying2 - Independent
1 - Needs help of 1 person
0 - Needs help of 2+ people
Sitting To Standing3 - Independent in under 3 seconds
2 - Independent in over 3 seconds
1 - Needs help of 1 person
0 - Needs help of 2+ people
Standing3 - Stands without support and able to reach
2 - Stands without support but needs support to reach
1 - Stands but needs support
0 - Stands only with physical support of another person
Gait3 - Independent
2 - Independent with frame
1 - Mobile with walking aid but erratic / unsafe
0 - Needs physical help to walk or constant supervision
Timed Walk (6 meters)3 - Under 15 seconds
2 - 16-30 seconds
1 - Over 30 seconds
0 - Unable to cover 6 meters
Functional Reach4 - Over 20 cm
2 - 10 - 20 cm
0 - Under 10 cm
Total Scores:/20/20/20

Outcome and Score of the Elderly Mobility Scale

Once the assessment has been completed, elderly people fell into 3 categories. The 3 categories are as follows:

Score Under 10 – This means that the person is depedent. The elderly person will require help with basic Activities of Daily Living. For example, toileting, dressing, transfers. etc. The elderly person may require more extensive care at home or long term care depending on the elderly persons’ wishes.

Score between 10  – 13 – An elderly person scoring between 10 and 13 will be determined to be borderline independent in activities of daily living and safe/proper mobility. Elderly persons falling into this category will require some help with mobility.

Score of 14-20 – Elderly persons scoring between 14 and 20 can generally maneuver safely alone. They are independent in basic Activities of Daily Living and are typically ok to be at home but may require some help.

Other Considerations

The scores used above are general interpretations. Other factors must be taken into account such as cognition, safety awareness and other things that may impact general mobility. As a general assessment this is a good initial and outcome determination tool when assessing mobility.

History Of the Elderly Mobility Scale

In 1994 Rachael Smith completed a Validation and Reliability study of the Elderly Mobility Scale. The study essentially established that the scale had concurrent validity and also had inter-rater reliability. 36 patients between the ages of 70-93 had functional independence measure scores performed which determined concurrent validity. Furthermore, two physiotherapists established inter-rater reliability that assessed 15 patients independently. The scale was then used in conjunction with the assessment package recommended by the Royal College of Physicians in 1992.

Further Studies

The EMS was found to be a valid scale with good inter-rater reliability that could be readily applied during daily clinical work.

In addition to Rachael Smith, Linda Prosser and Anne Canby also determined appropriateness for elderly patients in a hospital setting in 1997 in a study called “Further validation of EMS for measurement of mobility of hospitalised elderly people“. In their study they included 66 patients to determine the validity of the Elderly Mobility Scale. Scores of patients were evaluated also on whether or not they fell. They determined that the scale was valid and reliable and that it could be used in everyday clinical work to assess mobility of elderly people.

Conclusion on the Elderly Mobility Scale

Elderly Mobility is not a medical or professional resource site. This is just a website run by myself to gather some information on products and resources that can help your elderly loved ones have a better quality of life. I found the elderly mobility scale online and thought it would be a neat idea to summarize it, provide some basic information about it and how it is used. Furthermore, this is something that can give you some information to make a better decision about what your elderly loved one may or may not need at home or at their residence to assist in their daily lives.

Final Thoughts

If you think your elderly loved one may be in one of the lower score brackets, and does not have the right mobility aids in their daily life to assist them, then please consult a professional and have a proper assessment made so they can determine how their lives could be improved. Perhaps even in simple ways. Everybody will get old including yourself, why not help your elders so that one day, you can hope to get the same kind of help too? Hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you can take something away from that will teach you or someone you know something new.


About the author

Smiling Senior