Evaluation of Age & Dementia Friendly Gymnastics Programme

  • Vinal Khushal Karania
  • Working with Older People, September 2017, Emerald
  • DOI: 10.1108/wwop-03-2017-0008

Age & Dementia Friendly Gymnastics Programme - A Qualitative Evaluation

What is it about?

The Age & Dementia Friendly Gymnastics Programme is aimed at improving the emotional, physical and social well-being of older people. It has been developed by the British Gymnastics Foundation and involves activities that require bilateral asymmetric movements, accompanied by memory evoking music and lots of humour and contact through partner activities. This programme was piloted in two care homes and one day centre. This paper examines how the programme was delivered and received, whether it succeeded or not in meeting the aims, and whether the frequency at which it was delivered influenced any of the changes observed.

Why is it important?

Our findings show that older people participating in the programme showed a demonstrable improvement with aspects of their physical, emotional and cognitive ability. Older people with mild to advanced forms of dementia appeared to benefit most. The sessions were enjoyable and a real bond developed between the older people.


Vinal Karania
Age UK

It is easy to accept the older people living In Care Homes will over time deteriorate in health and social experience. This need not however be the case. The Age & Dementia Friendly Programme found some startling examples of older people who became more engaged with their environment, who began to leave their rooms and have meals in the communal area, and whose physical and cognitive abilities improved over time. One older person began to use her fingers more meaning she could eat more and other older people who showed poor memory began to remember the activity movements days after the class. The evaluation of the pilots showed that this programme showed promising signs of being able to help older people with varying levels of cognitive ability improve their physical, emotional and cognitive abilities.

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