Exercise benefits for elderly with cognitive impairment
As the global population continues to age, there is an increasing risk of falls and general physical decline in the community, potentially leading to serious injury and hospital admissions. These risks are heightened for elderly who also suffer from dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment. Whilst exercise training has been shown to be helpful in institutionalised older people with cognitive impairment, the effect of exercise on the equivalent population living in the community was less clear. To gain more insight into this cohort, this study recently examined the effect of long-term home and community based exercise programs on people with cognitive impairment who live independently in the community.
Published literature was searched extensively and 11 trials with data relevant to that topic were identified. Subsequently, data from these trials was pooled.
The researchers were able to show that exercise training improves balance and independence with activities such as dressing and feeding. The data also showed that more demanding activities such as shopping and cleaning were also improved by a regular exercise training program. Additionally, there was some evidence of a reduction in falls in this group, which potentially has flow-on effects for healthcare costs.
Want to read deeper into this topic? Have a look at the free full text version of this article published in Journal of Physiotherapy!
> From: Lewis et al., J Physiother 63 (2017) 23-29. All rights reserved to the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Click here for the online summary.