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Focus: Spring 2010

Effects of Tai Chi/Qigong Among Senior Apartment Residents

by Ruth Camann, RN, BSN, People Inc. Quality Assurance Coordinator

Ruth Camann is a registered nurse who holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Niagara University. She has over 15 years of experience with the Developmentally Disabled population and over 20 years of experience with the senior population in Western New York. She has been a member of the People Inc. Quality Assurance team for three years and is currently working with People Inc’s Special Needs CHHA for the Developmentally Disabled. Ruth’s evolving role includes new policy development, clinician training, and identification of areas to concentrate continuous quality improvement efforts.

Physicians, nurses and other home care professionals know that older adults who increase their level of physical activity maintain greater mobility, experience fewer falls, and lower blood pressure, among other benefits. Apart from physician-ordered physical therapy or group exercise classes, self-directed activities that are done in the home, including yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong, can be safe and effective for older adults, and should be encouraged, when appropriate, in home care plans of care.

CHC is pleased to share highlights of a grant-funded project to assist older adults that have challenges in mobility that may limit their participation in community- based programs.

The programming was constructed using Aizen’s Theory of Planned Behavior which proposes that human action is guided by three considerations: 1) expectations of outcome; 2) motivation to comply with the expectations of significant others; and 3) beliefs about whether one can actually engage in the new behavior. The behavior in question was ‘adopting and persisting in home practice of Tai Chi/Qigong’.

Three ‘Fall Prevention’ fairs were utilized as an opportunity to recruit participants for the project. The fairs were well attended by residents from eight senior housing apartment buildings, and the following information was disseminated: facts about falls prevention, ways to decrease fall risk factors, overview of Tai Chi/Qigong, and details about how

to participate volunteered to

in the pilot program. Interested residents participate in the Chi Time program.

R esidents of senior apartment housing often have mobility challenges affecting their ability to meet recommended guidelines for physical activity and subsequently their quality of life. In response to this challenge, People Inc. of Buffalo, NY secured a grant from the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York and in collaboration with Dr. Penny Klein, PT, EdD, a professor of Physical Therapy at D’Youville College, developed a modified Tai Chi/Qigong program for residents of senior apartment housing. The research protocol was registered with Clinicaltrials.gov.

Nineteen

participants

from

two

sites

were

randomly

assigned

to

receive

a

series

of

instructor-led

group

classes

in

Tai

Chi/

Qigong once weekly for four from six other sites received

weeks. Fifty-two one class of Tai

participants Chi/Qigong

instruction. At the initial class, both groups with an instructional DVD demonstrating Chi

were Time

provided exercises

in both a standing participants were

and sitting instructed

format for home practice. All to complete Daily Exercise

Logs week

including length of each exercise session duration of the study. A post-study survey

for the five of program

experiences

and

home

exercise

was

also

administered.

The purposes of the pilot were to determine (a) if residents of Senior Apartments could safely engage in independent practice of a modified program of Tai Chi/Qigong with minimal instruction from a Tai Chi instructor, (b) if they would enjoy the activity and perceive benefit, and (c) at what rates would they continue to practice this health promoting physical activity as part of their daily life routine.

Many lessons were learned through analysis of results which can apply to future programming. First, at the conclusion of their first instructor-led class, all participants felt confident that with assistance of the DVD, they could do the exercise on their own. There was one caveat – several participants needed instruction in how to use a DVD player. Overall, 64% reported exercising with others by meeting in each others’

community health care services foundation, inc.

Continued on Page 5 Page 

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