Physical activity perceptions, experiences, and beliefs of older adults with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease and their care partners

Publication type
Journal article
Bechard LE, Beaton DE, McGilton KS, Tartaglia MC, Black SE
Date published
2020 May 01
Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism
Open Access?

Physical activity (PA) participation provides functional and social benefits for persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD), but PA participation in these populations is low. To support health promotion initiatives for cognitively impaired older adults, this study explored the perceptions, experiences, and beliefs of older adults with cognitive impairment and their caregivers concerning PA. Ten care dyads (community-dwelling adult aged =65 years diagnosed with MCI or mild-to-moderate AD and their care partner) participated in semi-structured interviews informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework about their PA perceptions, experiences, and beliefs. Interpretive phenomenological analysis of interview transcripts yielded 4 emergent themes: (1) PA as a meaningful activity, (2) experience versus evidence as motivating, (3) participation is possible despite dementia, and (4) care partners as enablers. Findings from this study address a research gap concerning the PA perceptions, experiences, and beliefs of cognitively impaired older adults and their care partners. Novelty Older adults with MCI/AD want to and are capable of engaging in PA. Care partners are critical supporters of PA participation in MCI/AD. Adapted health promotion strategies could enhance PA in MCI/AD.