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Claudia Meyer, Sophie Hill, Keith D. Hill and Briony Dow

Provision of choice and participation in falls prevention strategies is challenging for people with dementia. This study outlines development of a discussion tool to aid engagement of people with dementia and their caregivers in falls prevention strategies. The tool is based on a literature review of falls prevention and dementia care (1990–2016) and decision aid principles and was trialed over 6 months. A total of 25 community-dwelling people with dementia (M age = 80 years, SD = 7.7, 52% male) and their caregivers (M age = 73 years, SD = 12.3, 36% male) underwent falls risk assessment and evaluation of their preparedness to change falls risk behaviors. Most commonly rated, and prioritized for intervention, high falls risk factors were impaired balance/mobility (92%), polypharmacy (60%), and incontinence (56%). This discussion tool facilitated collaboration between people with dementia, their caregivers, and health professionals, to increase uptake of acceptable and feasible evidence-based falls prevention strategies.

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Marie-Louise Bird, Keith Hill, Madeleine Ball and Andrew D. Williams

This research explored the balance benefits to untrained older adults of participating in community-based resistance and flexibility programs. In a blinded randomized crossover trial, 32 older adults (M = 66.9 yr) participated in a resistance-exercise program and a flexibility-exercise program for 16 weeks each. Sway velocity and mediolateral sway range were recorded. Timed up-and-go, 10 times sit-to-stand, and step test were also assessed, and lower limb strength was measured. Significant improvements in sway velocity, as well as timed up-and-go, 10 times sit-to-stand, and step test, were seen with both interventions, with no significant differences between the 2 groups. Resistance training resulted in significant increases in strength that were not evident in the flexibility intervention. Balance performance was significantly improved after both resistance training and standing flexibility training; however, further investigation is required to determine the mechanisms responsible for the improvement.

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Elissa Burton, Kaela Farrier, Gill Lewin, Simone Pettigrew, Anne-Marie Hill, Phil Airey, Liz Bainbridge and Keith D. Hill

Regular participation in resistance training is important for older people to maintain their health and independence, yet participation rates are low. The study aimed to identify motivators and barriers to older people participating in resistance training. A systematic review was conducted including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method studies. Searches generated 15,920 citations from six databases, with 14 studies (n = 1,937 participants) included. In total, 92 motivators and 24 barriers were identified. Motivators specific to participating in resistance training included preventing deterioration (disability), reducing risk of falls, building (toning) muscles, feeling more alert, and better concentration. Looking too muscular and thinking participation increased the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or death, despite the minimal likelihood of these occurring, were barriers. The analysis indicates that increasing participation in resistance training among older people should focus on the specific benefits valued by older people and the dissemination of accurate information to counter misperceptions.

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Lucy McPhate, Emily M. Simek, Terry P. Haines, Keith D. Hill, Caroline F. Finch and Lesley Day

Background:

Group exercise has been shown to be effective in preventing falls; however, adherence to these interventions is often poor. Older adults’ preferences for how these programs can be delivered are unknown.

Objective:

To identify older people’s preferences for how group exercise programs for falls prevention can be delivered.

Design:

A two-wave, cross-sectional, state-wide telephone survey was undertaken. Respondents were community-dwelling men and women aged 70+ in Victoria, Australia.

Methods:

Open-ended questions were asked to elicit information regarding respondent preferences of the program, which were analyzed using a framework approach.

Results:

Ninetyseven respondents completed the follow-up survey. The results indicate that older adults most frequently report the short-term advantages and disadvantages when describing their preferences for group exercise, such as enjoyment, social interaction, and leader qualities. Longer-term advantages such as falls prevention were described less frequently.

Conclusions:

This study indicates the importance of interpersonal skills, and that the opportunity for social interaction should not be overlooked as a positive feature of a group exercise program.

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Lesley Day, Margaret J. Trotter, Alex Donaldson, Keith D. Hill and Caroline F. Finch

The study aim was to evaluate the implementation of group- and home-based exercise falls prevention programs delivered through community health agencies to community-dwelling older people. Interviews with program staff were guided by the Diffusion of Innovations theory. Highly consistent themes emerged for the two types of programs. Both had high overall compatibility, high relative advantage, good observability and high inherent trialability—all factors known to strengthen implementation. The level of complexity and low financial compatibility emerged as the strongest potential inhibitors to program implementation in the context examined. The two main factors contributing to complexity were the need to challenge balance safely across a broad range of capability, and practical considerations associated with program delivery.A range of strategies to provide more technical support for exercise program leaders to tailor balance challenge for exercise program leaders may enhance implementation of falls prevention exercise programs.

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Freda Vrantsidis, Keith D. Hill, Kirsten Moore, Robert Webb, Susan Hunt and Leslie Dowson

The Getting Grounded Gracefully© program, based on the Awareness Through Movement lessons of the Feldenkrais method, was designed to improve balance and function in older people. Fifty-five participants (mean age 75, 85% women) were randomized to an intervention (twice-weekly group classes over 8 wk) or a control group (continued with their usual activity) after being assessed at baseline and then reassessed 8 wk later. Significant improvement was identified for the intervention group relative to the control group using ANOVA between-groups repeated-measures analysis for the Modified Falls Efficacy Scale score (p = .003) and gait speed (p = .028), and a strong trend was evident in the timed up-and-go (p = .056). High class attendance (88%) and survey feedback indicate that the program was viewed positively by participants and might therefore be acceptable to other older people. Further investigation of the Getting Grounded Gracefully program is warranted.

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Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Nikos Ntoumanis, Hannah Uren, Afroditi Stathi, Catrina Wold and Keith D. Hill

The aim of the current study was to explore perceptions of group-based walking and gather suggestions to inform the development of a group-based walking intervention among older adults in retirement villages. Twenty-four physically inactive residents (16 female, 8 male; age range: 69–88) and four managers from four retirement villages were interviewed. Inductive thematic analysis revealed six broad themes: lack of motivation, values versus constraints, fears and confidence, need for structure, creating a sense of belonging, and the physical environment as a double-edged sword. Proposed intervention strategies included using trained walk leaders, using small groups, planning for flexibility, setting attainable goals, creating a routine, creating opportunities for sharing experiences, and planning a variety of walks. Group-based walking programs may be used to promote physical activity but careful planning of such programs is needed to make them appealing and feasible to a diverse group of residents.