Send to

Choose Destination
Aging Clin Exp Res. 2015 Apr;27(2):161-9. doi: 10.1007/s40520-014-0254-7. Epub 2014 Jun 22.

The effect of an outdoor activities' intervention delivered by older volunteers on the quality of life of older people with severe mobility limitations: a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

Gerontology Research Center and Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. BOX 35, 40014, Jyväskylä, Finland,



Older community-living disabled people often have unmet activity needs and participation restrictions potentially reducing their quality of life (QoL).


We examined the effects of an individualized out-of-home activity intervention delivered by volunteers on QoL among community-living older people, who have difficulty accessing the outdoors independently.


Volunteering, Access to Outdoor Activities and Wellbeing in Older People (VOW; ISRCTN56847832) was a two-arm randomized single-blinded, controlled effectiveness trial (RCT) in Jyväskylä, Finland. The inclusion criteria were: age 65 or over, severe mobility limitation, able to communicate, and agree to participate in a RCT. Each intervention group member was assigned a trained volunteer with whom out-of-home activities were done once a week for 3 months (e.g., running errands or recreational activities). The primary outcome was the environmental subscore of QoL assessed with WHOQOL-BREF. Secondary outcomes were the overall QoL, physical capacity, psychological well-being, and social relationships assessed with WHOQOL_BREF and lower-extremity performance assessed with Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB).


121 people aged 67-92 years (mean age 81.9 years, SD 5.9, 90 % women) were randomized. No treatment effect on the environmental QoL subscore was observed, but for physical capacity subscore a significant treatment effect was observed (General Linear Model, Group by Time p = 0.001). No effects were observed for the other QoL subscores or for SPPB score.


This study suggests that individualized out-of-home activity intervention delivered by volunteers may influence the QoL of old severely mobility-limited community-living people in a positive way.


Further studies are needed to better understand how to improve QoL of older disabled community-living people and potentially buffer them against more severe care needs and institutionalization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center