Client, caregiver, volunteer, and therapist views on a voluntary supported group exercise programme for older adults with dementia
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionBMC Geriatrics. 2020, 20 (1), 1-9. 10.1186/s12877-020-01632-6
Background: Existing group exercise programmes, or other services offered to maintain physical activity levels, are typically not developed specifically for older adults with dementia. The aim of this study was to gain knowledge about perceptions of a newly developed volunteer supported group exercise programme for older adults with dementia, and any barriers that may have affected participation and compliance. Methods: Seven (six face-to-face and one by email) interviews were conducted with (i) older adults and volunteers participating in a pilot 12-week group exercise programme, (ii) caregivers, and (iii) therapists leading the group sessions. Interview transcriptions were systemised by use of NVivo 8 and analysed by use of Systematic Text Condensation method. Results: The theme “building relationships” represents the reason why attending this group was important for the participants. The findings suggest that how we organize exercise groups is important, with some sort of extra support, to ensure that persons will begin and continue to participate in new activities outside their homes. Conclusions: This study showed that it is possible to involve home-dwelling persons with cognitive decline and dementia in group exercise sessions. The role of building relationships was the major factor for successful participation. Providing support and ensuring motivation for persons attending the group outside their homes was essential, both for them and their caregivers. Service providers should not underestimate the importance of building relationships between persons involved in service offers.