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2007 Grant - Perkinson
Family-Assisted Exercise Programs in a Dementia Care Facility
Margaret A. Perkinson, Ph.D.
Saint Louis University
St. Louis, Missouri
2007 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
There is abundant evidence that physical activity is beneficial for older adults. Yet people with dementia often do not get enough exercise, either because of functional and behavioral changes associated with the disease or because dementia makes it difficult to participate independently in physical activities.
Dr. Margaret A. Perkinson, Ph.D., and her team will develop and evaluate individualized, family-supervised physical activity programs for residents of dementia care facilities with mild, moderate or severe dementia. Family members will be enlisted as consultants in developing the programs, trained to supervise their relatives and encouraged to exercise along with them. This approach builds off the growing trend in developing partnerships for care among family members and health care professionals.
Results will be determined through in-depth interviews, observation and focus groups, with particular attention given to the best and least helpful compon-ents of a successful program. The researches will also collect initial and follow-up measures of physical ability among the people with dementia in order to gauge any changes in balance, strength and flexibility. The findings will lay the groundwork for a future project that will integrate family members into a program of restorative care within dementia facilities.