Credentials Display

Jennifer Hill, OTD, OTR/L, CBIS, CNS; Ellen Hudgins, OTD, OTR/L, ITOT; Sharon Leonard, OTD, OTR/L, CLA


Sensory functions decline with age, and the likelihood of having multiple sensory impairments increases with age, potentially leading to decreased physical activity and performance, decreased social participation, poorer quality of life, and greater health care spending. Presbyvestibulopathy (PVP), a diagnosis established in 2019, is a vestibular dysfunction or loss related to the aging process characterized by mild bilateral vestibular deficits, chronic dizziness, unsteadiness, gait disturbance, and/or recurrent falls. Given the potential impact of vestibular dysfunction on occupational performance and participation in meaningful activities, occupational therapy’s (OT) role in PVP is evident; however, limited literature exists specific to OT and vestibular dysfunction. OT plays a distinct role in social participation, healthy aging, fall prevention and improving fall-related efficacy, environmental adaptation, and activity modification to improve occupational engagement and quality of life in older adults. Possible evidence-based interventions for age-related vestibular loss in the OT scope of practice could apply to older adults with PVP. This manuscript intends to use evidence relevant to OT to contribute to an understanding of PVP and the potential role of OT in recognizing, assessing, and treating clients with age-related vestibular loss.