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Christine B. Phillips, Jerri D. Edwards, Ross Andel and Marcus Kilpatrick

Physical activity (PA) is believed to preserve cognitive function in older adulthood, though little is known about these relationships within the context of daily life. The present microlongitudinal pilot study explored within- and between-person relationships between daily PA and cognitive function and also examined within-person effect sizes in a sample of community-dwelling older adults. Fifty-one healthy participants (mean age = 70.1 years) wore an accelerometer and completed a cognitive assessment battery for five days. There were no significant associations between cognitive task performance and participants’ daily or average PA over the study period. Effect size estimates indicated that PA explained 0–24% of within-person variability in cognitive function, depending on cognitive task and PA dose. Results indicate that PA may have near-term cognitive effects and should be explored as a possible strategy to enhance older adults’ ability to perform cognitively complex activities within the context of daily living.

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Teresa M. Damush, Susan M. Perkins, Alan E. Mikesky, Melanie Roberts and John O’Dea

In order to provide successful interventions to increase physical activity among inactive older adults, it is imperative to understand motivational factors influencing exercise. The authors present data from 191 (baseline) and 125 (12-month) community-dwelling men and women with mean ages of 68.71 (7.47) and 67.55 (7.55) years, respectively, from a strength-training trial. Approximately 53% had diagnosed knee osteoarthritis. Using a Likert scale, participants self-reported their degree of motivation from personal, social, and environmental factors. Using multivariate analyses, the authors evaluated demographic and clinical correlates of motivational factors to join and continue with exercise. The following results were reported: Knee osteoarthritis was positively related to motivation from an organized exercise opportunity and from efficacy/outcome expectations, and knee pain was positively related to motivation from social support and experience with the exercise task. Understanding these motivators might help in targeting recruitment efforts and interventions designed to increase physical activity in older adults with lower extremity arthritis.

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Cheryl Der Ananian, Sara Wilcox, Ken Watkins, Ruth P. Saunders and Alexandra E. Evans

Most people with arthritis are not regularly active. Understanding what factors influence exercise is essential for designing programs to increase participation. The objective of this study was to examine the correlates of exercise in people with arthritis. Using a cross-sectional design, sociodemographic, health-related, and psychosocial variables were collected from community-dwelling individuals with arthritis (N = 141). Associations with exercise level were examined with bivariate statistics (ANOVAs, chi-squares) and logistic-regression analyses. Exercisers were less likely than nonexercisers and insufficiently active people to report that arthritis negatively affected their physical and social functioning, and they reported more positive affect and greater self-efficacy (p < .05). Exercisers also reported less pain than nonexercisers (p < .05). In multiple logistic-regression analyses, self-efficacy and physical limitations remained independent predictors of exercise. The results suggest the need to target exercise self-efficacy when designing exercise interventions. Results also suggest the need to tailor exercise programs to individuals’ physical limitations.

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Po-Wen Ku, Jim McKenna and Kenneth R. Fox

Subjective well-being (SWB) and its relationship with physical activity have not been systematically investigated in older Chinese people. This study explored these issues using qualitative interviews with a purposive sample of 23 community-dwelling Chinese older adults (age 55–78 y, 12 women); 16 were physically active and 7 physically inactive. Using cross-case analyses, 7 dimensions of SWB emerged: physical, psychological, developmental, material, spiritual, sociopolitical, and social. Although elements of SWB may be shared across cultures, specific distinctions were identified. Active respondents reported the unique contributions of physical activity to the physical, psychological, developmental, and social elements of SWB. The findings suggest that physical activity could enhance the quality of life in Chinese older adults.

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Sandra K. Hunter, Martin W. Thompson and Roger D. Adams

The purposes of this study were to investigate the rate of change with age of simple lower-limb reaction time (RT) in women and determine the relationship among RT. strength, and physical activity. Independent, community-dwelling women aged 20–89 years (N = 217) were assessed for knee-extension RT, maximal voluntary isometric contractions of the knee extensors (KE), and physical activity level. Trend analysis by ANOVA and regression analysis on RT were performed. Lower-limb RT increased and KE strength and physical activity level decreased linearly across age groups (p < .001). Active women had faster RTs than those of inactive women of the same age (p < .01). From multiple-regression analysis on RT, only 1 predictor variable. KE strength, emerged. Stronger women had faster RTs than those of weaker women (p < .0001), regardless of age and physical activity. Although RT was slower in older women, higher levels of strength and physical activity were associated with faster RTs in this group.

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Elissa Burton, Gill Lewin and Duncan Boldy

The proportion of older people living in our communities is rising and, to live independently, some require assistance from home care services. Physical activity can improve and maintain function, strength, and balance, which are important for those receiving home care. This study reviewed the evidence on physical activity/exercise interventions trialed with older people receiving a home care service. A systematic review of studies published from January 1982 to September 2012, from five databases, was undertaken. Inclusion criteria were: aged 65+ years; community dwelling; no dementia diagnosis; receiving home care services; and a physical activity/exercise program. Eight articles were included and results show there were few consistencies between intervention types, groups, outcome measures, and follow-up. Study quality was mixed. Future studies should include pragmatic randomized controlled trials involving home care practitioners and their clients to gain “real-world” knowledge of what interventions are effective and can be delivered within this setting.

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Barbara Resnick, Kathleen Michael, Marianne Shaughnessy, Eun Shim Nahm, Susan Kopunek, John Sorkin, Denise Orwig, Andrew Goldberg and Richard F. Macko

Background:

Self-report measures of physical activity have well-known drawbacks, and physiologic measures alone do not account for behavioral variables important in the perception and performance of physical activity. Therefore, we considered multiple measures to quantify physical activity in community-dwelling men and women with chronic stroke.

Methods:

This analysis included data from a volunteer sample of 87 individuals at least 6 months poststroke. Physical activity was measured using self-report questionnaires, step activity monitors, self-efficacy expectations related to exercise, and VO2peak from treadmill testing, and a model of physical activity was tested.

Results:

Most of the variance in objective physical activity was explained by VO2peak, and most of the variance in subjective physical activity was explained by self-efficacy expectations. There were significant discrepancies between subjective and objective findings.

Conclusion:

This study helps to understand the perspective of stroke survivors with regard to physical activity.

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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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Kristiann C. Heesch, Jannique van Uffelen and Wendy J. Brown

The aim of this study was to examine older adults’ understanding and interpretation of a validated questionnaire for physical activity surveillance, the Active Australia Survey (AAS). To address this aim, cognitive interviewing techniques were used during face-to-face semistructured interviews with 44 adults age 65–89 years. Qualitative data analysis revealed that participants were confused with questionnaire phrasing, misunderstood the scope of activities to include in answers, and misunderstood the time frame of activities to report. They also struggled to accurately estimate the frequency and duration of their activities. Our findings suggest that AAS questions may be interpreted differently by older adults than intended by survey developers. Findings also suggest that older adults use a range of methods for calculating PA frequency and duration. The issues revealed in this study may be useful for adapting AAS for use in older community-dwelling adults.

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Maria Giné-Garriga, Míriam Guerra, Esther Pagès, Todd M. Manini, Rosario Jiménez and Viswanath B. Unnithan

The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a 12-wk functional circuit-training program (FCT) could alter markers of physical frailty in a group of frail community-dwelling adults. Fifty-one individuals (31 women, 20 men), mean age (± SD) 84 (± 2.9) yr, met frailty criteria and were randomly assigned into groups (FCT = 26, control group [CG] = 25). FCT underwent a 12-wk exercise program. CG met once a week for health education meetings. Measures of physical frailty, function, strength, balance, and gait speed were assessed at Weeks 0, 12, and 36. Physical-frailty measures in FCT showed significant (p < .05) improvements relative to those in CG (Barthel Index at Weeks 0 and 36: 73.41 (± 2.35) and 77.0 (± 2.38) for the FCT and 70.79 (± 2.53) and 66.73 (± 2.73) for the CG. These data indicate that an FCT program is effective in improving measures of function and reducing physical frailty among frail older adults.