[Purpose] In this study, we examined the relationships between walking with the assistance of a cart and cognitive function in the elderly. [Methods] The subjects were 28 community-dwelling elderly people with a mean age of 77.1 years. We collected their performance on three types of cognitive function tests and walking data. The walking data were collected using a five-meter walking (5W) test and a Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. For each of tests, the subjects were asked to walk using the following three walking methods: normal walking (NW), cart-assisted walking (CW), and cart-assisted walking while performing a continuous subtraction task (DT-CW). The time required to complete each path and the number of “walking interference”events in the TUG (e.g., colliding with a cone) test were measured. [Results] In the 5 W test, the walking time for DT-CW was significantly longer than that for CW. In the TUG test, the walking time for CW was significantly longer than that for NW, and the time for DT-CW was significantly longer than that for CW. Significant positive correlations were observed between the number of walking interference events in the TUG test and the degree of nursing care required and the required time for the Trail Making Test-A. [Conclusion] To evaluate cart-assisted walking ability, it is recommended that not only straight paths be used, but also more complicated paths, like in the TUG test. Reduced attentional function was related to difficulties encountered during cart-assisted walking. When the elderly with impaired attention use a cart for their daily walking, it may be necessary to practice its operation carefully.
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