We compared the functional performance of 20 young adult women and 20 older adult women on two types of tasks. One type of task was normal instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., meal preparation, home maintenance) that were meaningful, familiar, and well practiced. The other type was a contrived, relatively unfamiliar task of wrapping a package. Although young and old women did not differ significantly in their familiarity with the two tasks, results from two repeated measures MANOVAs revealed a significant age difference in both activities. This finding suggests that older adults show age-related decline with tasks even when those tasks are familiar, practiced, and ecologically valid.

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