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Tai Chi Effective for the Prevention of Long-term Care in Community-dwelling Frail Elderly People
February 26, 2012 -
This study is performed by Fukushima Medical University in Japan and published in the latest issue of Japanese Journal of Geriatrics.

Aim: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a Tai Chi Yuttari-exercise based care prevention program aimed at frail elderly people on new care-need certification and mortality.

Methods: Participants were elderly individuals (>=65 years of age) who lived in Kitakata City and who had experienced a fall in the past year but were not receiving support or long-term care. Those who agreed to participate in the exercise program were the intervention group (n=34), and those who did not participate were the control group (n=84). The intervention program was carried out once a week for a total of 15 times during the period spanning December 5, 2006 to March 22, 2007. In the intervention group we measured and analyzed changes in physical functions and administered a questionnaire before and after the intervention. We confirmed any deaths and determined whether certification for long-term care had been issued to the participants, in March 2010.

Results: New care-need certification was issued to 2 participants (6.3%) in the intervention group and 19 (24.1%) in the control group. Logistic regression analysis revealed that participants in the intervention group tended to require less new certification than those in the control group. There was no significant difference in the number of deaths between the intervention (2 participants; 5.9%) and control (5 participants; 6.0%) groups. We observed significant changes between pre- and post-intervention on several variables, including motor fitness scale, maximum walking speed over 10 meters, functional reach test, ability to stand after a long period of sitting, and maximum one step width.

Conclusion: The Tai Chi Yuttari-exercise based intervention program for frail elderly people reduced the need for new care-need certification and was useful as a care prevention program.




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