Forbes D, Thiessen EJ, Blake CM, Forbes SC, Forbes S
This is an update of our previous 2008 review. Several recent trials and systematic reviews of the impact of exercise on people with dementia are reporting promising findings.
Primary: Do exercise programs for older people with dementia improve cognition, activities of daily living (ADLs), challenging behaviour, depression, and mortality in older people with dementia?
Secondary: Do exercise programs for older people with dementia have an indirect impact on family caregivers’ burden, quality of life, and mortality?
Do exercise programs for older people with dementia reduce the use of healthcare services (e.g. visits to the emergency department) by participants and their family caregivers?
We identified trials for inclusion in the review by searching ALOIS (www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/alois), the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group’s Specialised Register, on 4 September 2011, and again on 13 August 2012. The search terms used were: ’physical activity’ OR exercise OR cycling OR swim* OR gym* OR walk* OR danc* OR yoga OR ‘tai chi’.
In this review, we included randomized controlled trials in which older people, diagnosed with dementia, were allocated either to exercise programs or to control groups (usual care or social contact/activities) with the aim of improving cognition, ADLs, behaviour, depression, and mortality. Secondary outcomes related to the family caregiver(s) and included caregiver burden, quality of life, mortality, and use of healthcare services.