A simplified 10-step Tai-chi programme to enable people with dementia to improve their motor performance: a feasibility study
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Objective: To evaluate the feasibility and preliminary effects of a simplified 10-step Tai-chi programme to improve the motor performance of people with dementia. Design: A two-arm, single-blinded cluster randomized controlled trial, registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03341091). Setting: Community health centres. Participants: Twenty-six dyads of people with dementia and their family caregivers were recruited, with mean (SD) ages of 82.2 (7.43) and 51.3 (18.97), respectively. Interventions: The experimental group underwent a 16 week 10-step simplified Tai-chi training programme, with additional measures to enhance engagement. The control group joined recreational activities organized by the centres. Main outcome measure(s): The feasibility assessment included recruitment, attrition, adherence to, and engagement in the Tai-chi programme. The preliminary effects were assessed by the participants’ performance in mobility tests. Results: Preliminary feasibility was established, with an acceptable recruitment rate of 58% (26 out of 45 assessed dyads) and a high attendance rate of 81% (25.88 out of 32 Tai-chi sessions). There was positive engagement in the training sessions, and no adverse incidents. However, five participants withdrew from the Tai-chi group, for a high attrition rate of 38%, and the mean home practice time decreased between weeks 8 and 16. In most of the motor performance tests, a slight but insignificant improvement was observed in the Tai-chi group compared to the control group. Conclusion: A tailored Tai-chi programme for people with dementia using a dyadic approach has been found to be feasible. However, stronger support must be provided to family caregivers to improve the participants’ sustained participation.
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