Handwriting Legibility in Healthy Older Adults

Michelle Dettrick-Janes, Annie McCluskey, Natasha A. Lannin, Justin Newton Scanlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Handwriting processes deteriorate with age and following neurological conditions. Improving handwriting is often a focus of rehabilitation. Yet knowledge of handwriting legibility in the elderly is limited. This study describes the distribution of handwriting legibility scores in healthy older adults, relationships between handwriting legibility, age and writing task, and reliability of rating procedures. Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used involving 120 healthy older Australians. Tasks included writing sentences, shopping lists and transcribing a telephone message. Legibility was scored using the modified Four Point Scale - version 2. Results: Legibility differed between tasks but was not related to increasing age. Conclusions: Impaired handwriting legibility in the elderly is less likely due to the effects of aging than the required task or medical conditions. Findings from this study may help therapists set intervention goals and measure legibility changes during handwriting retraining.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-203
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Elderly
  • readability
  • rehabilitation
  • writing style

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