Postural control is based upon the fusion of sensory cues coming from multiple sources requiring continuously adaptation that may be altered due to aging, leading to the poor postural equilibrium in older adults. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the adaptation in the relationship between the visual information and the body sway in older adults. Fifteen older (70 ± 7.6 years) and 15 younger adults (19 ± 1.1 years) stood upright inside of a moving room. Each participant performed 7 trials, each lasting 60 s, in which in the first 3 trials the room oscillated at 0.2 Hz, amplitude of 0.6 cm, and peak-to-peak velocity of 0.6 cm/s. In the fourth trial, the room oscillated at 0.2 Hz but with amplitude of 3.5 cm and peak-to-peak velocity of 3.5 cm/s. In the following 3 trials, the room oscillated with the same parameters of the first three trials. Body sway magnitude was examined through mean sway amplitude, and the relationship between visual information and induced body sway was examined through coherence and gain. Visual manipulation induced corresponding body sway in both older and younger adults, with no difference being observed between groups in the first three trials. In the fourth trial, mean sway amplitude, coherence and gain values were higher for the older compared to younger adults. Moreover, in the last three trials, older adults still showed higher gain values than observed for the younger adults. Taken together, these results suggest that older adults adapt to abrupt changes in visual cues, but not with the same magnitude as younger adults. Yet, older adults do not take advantage of experienced sensory changes in order to adapt the use of the vision information in the following experiences, indicating the less capability of adaptation to the sensory changes.
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