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The objective of this study was to explore and synthesize evidence on the effectiveness and implementation of recreational therapy programs to enhance mobility outcomes (e.g., balance, functional performance, fall incidence) for older adults in long-term care. The authors conducted a scoping review of 66 studies following the PRISMA guidelines. Two independent reviewers evaluated each article, and a third reviewer resolved discrepancies. Randomized controlled studies provided strong to moderate evidence that tai chi programs, walking, dancing, and ball games improve flexibility, functional mobility, and balance. Studies assessing program implementation highlighted that program delivery was facilitated by clear instruction, encouragement, attendance documentation, and minimal equipment. This review elucidated the benefit of recreational therapy programs on mobility. It also identified the need for customized programs based on individuals’ interests and their physical and mental abilities. These findings and recommendations will assist practitioners in designing effective and feasible recreational therapy programs for long-term care.

Yang is with the Department of Sports Science and Physical Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. van Schooten is with the Neuroscience Research Australia, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. McKay and Sims-Gould are with the Department of Family Practice, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Hoang and Robinovitch are with the Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Yang (yyang@cuhk.edu.hk) is corresponding author.
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