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2015 Grants - Barnes
Paired Integrative Exercise Program for People with Dementia and Caregivers
Deborah Barnes, Ph.D., M.P.H
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, California
2015 Non-Pharmacological Strategies to Ameliorate Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia Grant
Can a home-based exercise program for individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers improve health and quality of life?
Currently approved dementia medications are associated with small improvements in clinical symptoms, do not appear to slow or stop the disease and are often discontinued due to side effects. In contrast, there is growing evidence that non-drug strategies can improve some symptoms in affected individuals and reduce caregiver burden. The available research suggests that programs combining physical, mental and social stimulation with caregiver education are most likely to have a positive impact. However, few programs like these have been rigorously tested or implemented in the community.
Deborah Barnes, Ph.D., M.P.H. and colleagues have recently developed a novel intervention called Paired PLIÉ (pronounced ‘plee-ay’ and stands for Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise). The program includes exercise training for the movements most needed for daily function, such as transitioning safely between sitting and standing, and also promotes a social and emotional connection between those with dementia and caregivers. Paired PLIÉ can be performed safely at home by caregivers and affected individuals using an illustrated booklet and 20-minute video to support home-based practice. For their current work, the researchers will study 60 pairs of individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers to examine the effects of the Paired PLIÉ program over a 12-month period. They will determine if the program improves cognitive function, independence, and quality of life in the participants with Alzheimer’s disease. They will also examine if it reduces caregiver burden and improves positive feelings about caregiving.
The goal of the current study is to test the impact of the Paired PLIÉ program on function and quality of life in people with dementia and the well-being of caregivers. If the program is successful, it could be widely implemented in a home-based setting at a relatively low cost. This type of intervention has the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of those living with dementia as well as those who care for them.