Philadelphia, PA, November 20-22
Reliable evaluation of cognitive performance and functional capacity is critical to the effective assessment of mental health in aging individuals. The Virtual Reality Functional Capacity Assessment Tool (VRFCAT) was developed as a direct performance-based assessment of functional capacity that is sensitive to changes in function across multiple populations. Using a realistic virtual reality environment, the VRFCAT assesses a subject’s ability to complete instrumental activities associated with a shopping trip, including searching the pantry at home, making a list, taking the correct bus, shopping in a store, paying for the purchases, and returning home. The VRFCAT includes multiple forms, to allow for repeated testing with minimal practice effects. In previous studies, the VRFCAT has demonstrated high test-retest reliability and has shown sensitivity to functional impairment (Ruse et al., 2014). The primary aims of the present study were to (1) assess the sensitivity of the VRFCAT to functional declines associated with normal aging, (2) examine the relationship between VRFCAT performance and cognitive function in both young and older adults, and (3) to examine age differences in the relationship between functional and cognitive measures.