Exploring the effect of aquatic exercise on behaviour and psychological well-being in people with moderate to severe dementia: A pilot study of the Watermemories Swimming Club

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Abstract

Aim:

To explore the effects of a dementia-specific, aquatic exercise intervention on behavioural and psychological symptoms in people with dementia (BPSD).

Method:

Residents from two aged care facilities in Queensland, Australia, received a 12-week intervention consisting of aquatic exercises for strength, agility, flexibility, balance and relaxation. The Psychological Well-Being in Cognitively Impaired Persons Scale (PW-BCIP) and the Revised Memory and Behaviour Problems Checklist (RMBPC) were completed by registered nurses at baseline, week 6, week 9 and post intervention.

Results:

Ten women and one man (median age = 88.4 years, interquartile range = 12.3) participated. Statistically significant declines in the RMBPC and PW-BCIP were observed over the study period.

Conclusion:

Preliminary evidence suggests that a dementia-specific, aquatic exercise intervention reduces BPSD and improves psychological well-being in people with moderate to severe dementia. With further testing, this innovative intervention may prove effective in addressing some of the most challenging aspects of dementia care.

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