Friday, July 23, 2004
This presentation is part of : Aging and the Community
The Effect of a Community-Based Exercise Program for Older Adults on Health Status Outcomes
Elizabeth P. Howard, PhD, RN, BC-ACNP, School of Nursing, School of Nursing, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
Learning Objective #1: Describe the potential benefits of exercise for older adults
Learning Objective #2: Discuss the health status outcomes from one community based-exercise program for older adults

Inactivity is perhaps the greatest health threat for older adults. Physiologic changes that occur with decreased activity have a profound impact on an individual's functional ability and, for the elderly, these changes are magnified.

Objective: The major goals of this pilot project was to determine if the implementation of a community based dance and exercise program in an urban setting produces favorable health status outcomes among pre-frail, older adults.

Design: The author implemented a randomized contolled trial with repeated measures to examine the research variables.

Population, Sample, Setting, Years: The sample was drawn from the population of pre-frail older adults living in a residential area of a large metropolitan city. A local neighborhood health center provided the link with the residents of the area. Thirteen women with a mean age of 75 years participated in the project for 2 years. The dance and exercise program was held in a meeting room of an elderly apartment complex.

Intervention and Outcome Variables: Study subject participated in a dance and exercise class twice weekly which served as the intervention for the study. Outcomes variables were functional capacity, measured by a physical performance test, self-perception of health, measured by the Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form (SF-36), and mood state as measured by the Geriatric Depression Scale.

Methods: Repeated-measures design over a two-year period with three data colletion points each year. Findings: There were no changes in functional capacity and study participants showed an improvement in mood state. Self-perception of health remained unchanged.

Conclusions: Implementation of a dance and exercise program in an urban community produces favorable health status outcomes particularly no change in functional capacity and improvement in mood state.

Implications: Community based interventions can be effective in maintaining functional ability among older adults and improving their health status.

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Sigma Theta Tau International
July 22-24, 2004