This critical systematic review and meta-analysis examined the literature to assess the impact of different physical activity programmes recommended for people with moderate to severe dementia. The impact of these exercise regimes on functional independence in activities of daily living (ADL) was investigated and a meta-analysis of these studies was performed. The programme components and ADL assessment tools were found to vary widely across studies, making analysis difficult. Of 303 articles identified, only five were rigorous enough for consideration (and four of those five studies had limited methodological quality from the authors’ viewpoint).
It was found in one high-quality study that physical activity programmes delay deterioration of ADL performance significantly. The proposed treatments have no proven ability to improve the ADL status of dementia patients, but they do appear to be able to limit the decline in ADL functioning. Future research is needed to identify the clinically relevant aspects of physical activity programmes for people with moderate to severe dementia.
Burge, E. Kuhne, N. Berchtold, A. [et al]. Impact of physical activity on activity of daily living in moderate to severe dementia: a critical review. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity. April 2012; Vol.9(1): 27-39. Epub December 15th 2011. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).