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Multitasking 'impairs road crossing ability in older people'

Multitasking 'impairs road crossing ability in older people'
16th March 2011

Older people should be wary of multitasking when out and about, a new study has indicated.

Researchers from the University of Illinois found that people aged between 59 and 81 were more likely to fail to cross within the time limit when multitasking than college students.

While younger adults showed no impairment on crossing the road when multitasking, older people took longer to cross the road while also carrying out a second activity such as listening to music or talking on a phone.

Lead author Mark Neider said: "Combined with our previous work, the current findings suggest that while all pedestrians should exercise caution when attempting to cross a street while conversing on a cell phone, older adults should be particularly careful."

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that the mobile needs of older people are not being met, with a survey by phone company Emporia finding that just 50 per cent of over-60s in Europe own a mobile phone.

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