Fall Risk-Relevant Functional Mobility Outcomes in Dementia Following Dyadic Tai Chi Exercise

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Abstract

Whether persons with dementia benefit from fall prevention exercise is unclear. Applying the Positive Emotion-Motivated Tai Chi protocol, preliminary findings concerning adherence and effects of a dyadic Tai Chi exercise program on persons with Alzheimer's disease (AD) are reported. Using pre/posttest design, 22 community-dwelling AD-caregiver dyads participated in the program. Fall-risk-relevant functional mobility was measured using Unipedal Stance Time (UST) and Timed Up and Go (TUG) tests. Results showed that 19/22 (86.4%) AD patients completed the 16-week program and final assessment; 16/19 dyads (84.2%) completed the prescribed home program as reported by caregivers. UST adjusted mean improved from 4.0 to 5.1 (Week 4, p < .05) and 5.6 (Week 16, p < .05); TUG improved from 13.2 to 11.6 (Week 4, p < .05) and 11.6 (Week 16, p > .05) post intervention. Retaining dementia patients in an exercise intervention remains challenging. The dyadic Tai Chi approach appears to succeed in keeping AD-caregiver dyads exercising and safe.

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