Veronika van der Wardt et al. | Physical activity engagement strategies in people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia – a focus group study | Aging & Mental Health | Published online: 07 Apr 2019
Objective: This focus group study aimed to explore how to motivate people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia and their carers to engage in exercise and physical activity.
Methods: Four focus groups were conducted with six people with MCI or dementia, three carers and four clinicians (nurse, occupational therapist, physiotherapists). A thematic analysis of the data was undertaken.
Results: Five main themes were identified: ‘memory problems’, ‘self-motivation’, ‘external motivation’, ‘design of activities’ and ‘barriers’. Participants viewed exercise positively but emphasised that it needed to fit into their daily routine. Goal-setting was seen as helpful by some participants but others saw this as a source of potential failure. Enjoyment was seen as key to engagement.
Conclusion: Exercise and physical activity interventions need an individualised approach to engage people with MCI or dementia, with a positive emphasis on enjoyment. Goal-setting should be used with caution in this group of people.
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