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The Home Support Exercise Program (HSEP) targets frail older adults. After a 4-hr training workshop, home-support workers (HSWs) encourage clients to do a simple, progressive set of 10 exercises during regular visits. Exercise compliance and functional performance were examined in 60 clients who received the HSEP, compared with 38 clients whose HSWs had not received HSEP training. Both groups were primarily female, average age 82, and many of them used walking aids. The 40 HSEP clients who continued with the program over 4 months showed good compliance and significant improvement on several indicators: timed up-and-go, sit-to-stand, 6-min walk, balance confidence, and well-being. Conversely, the comparison group declined on several measures. The findings support the effectiveness of the HSEP, as well as the importance of regular and ongoing support from HSWs for this population.
The authors are with the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, 1490 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, Canada N6G 2M3.