Living in institutions – especially long-term care institutions (LTCIs) – may be limiting for older adults since their context is not often in favour of physical activity or participation in social and daily activities. This may directly impact physical and mental health by leading to further sedentarity and disabilities.
Promoting physical activity in LTCIs is therefore essential. On the other hand, it is a real challenge for physiotherapists taking care of older residents. Previous studies highlighted that physical activity as part of recreational physiotherapy can provide both physical and psychological benefits for older people in a long-term care context: less pain, less falls, better daily functioning, improved motivation and social interaction. However, some barriers may limit these positive effects, either institutional (structural issues such as lack of space) or behavioural (resident issues).
It seems necessary to fully understand older peoples' perceptions of recreational physiotherapy in LTCIs: knowing their feelings and attitudes about physical activity may help physiotherapists to better adapt their work while including residents' feedback in their care strategies. The aim of the present qualitative study was to assess the perceptions and experiences of older adults regarding recreational physiotherapy in LTCIs. It was found that they experienced physical, psychological and social benefits.