The Relationship of Motivators and Barriers to Exercise Adherence in the Older Adult at an Assisted Living Facility

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 3:45 PM

Maureen, C. Roller, DNP, ANP-BC
School of Nursing, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY

Learning Objective 1: understand the relationship of motivators and barriers to exercise adherence in the older adult at an assisted living facility.

Learning Objective 2: understand the variables of adherence of the older adult an exercise program during a 12-week period.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falling is a frequent occurrence in older adults above the age of 65 (Stevens, 2007). Promoting regular exercise in older adults has important health implications related to fall prevention. Assisting this population to adhere to an exercise program can help to prevent disability and disease, maintain and improve function and improve quality of life (Resnick, 2001). Exercise is a health behavior promoting well-being and is a mandate of Healthy People 2010.

The purpose of this descriptive, correlation study was to examine the relationship between motivators and barriers to exercise adherence in older adults at an assisted living facility during a 12-week period.

This study utilized the Pender Health Promotion Model to encourage individuals to take an active role in health behaviors and promote well-being. The model reflects the belief that individuals are capable of change and can influence their health (Pender, 1996). Nurse practitioners have a pivotal role in leadership and incorporating the findings of research of health promotion into clinical practice and community programs (Pender, 2006).

This study included subjects above the age of 65 who were able to participate in an exercise program (N=55). The instrument utilized was the Physical Fitness and Exercise Activity Levels of Older Adults Scale (Melillo, Futrell, Williamson & Chamberlain, 1997).

The outcome of the study clearly indicated that emphasis on positive motivators and minimizing barriers to access an exercise program may impact older adults’ exercise adherence. Weekly adherence was close to 50% yet completing the 12-week program was limited by illness in this population.

Exercise adherence is an important health promotion activity for the older adult to maintain independence. Nursing implications include nurses encouraging exercise adherence in their clinical practice which may decrease falls and improve the quality of life of their clients.