Improving exercise classes for people with dementia

Research project: The DEMFIT-Toolkit: characteristics and core components needed to implement an exercise class for people with dementia in the community

Lead Investigator: Annabelle Long

  • Institution: University of Nottingham 
  • Grant type: Clinical Training Fellowship 
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Amount: £124,868

Project summary

Exercise can provide health and well-being benefits for people living with dementia. This project aims to find out the key features needed to set up an exercise class for people with dementia and develop guidelines to help people set up similar classes in their communities. 

The background 

Exercise has been shown to greatly benefit people with dementia. It can lead to improvements in their daily functioning, mobility, mood, and social connections.

While exercise classes have already been established for people with dementia, we haven't yet evaluated them to identify which elements provide the most benefit. 

What does this project involve? 

This fellowship aims to find out which features of exercise classes for people with dementia are key to improving their health and keeping them engaged. That way, there is a gold standard for creating exercise classes for people with dementia going forward.

Annabelle will review the literature, observe classes, and interview attendees to determine the elements that make up good exercise interventions and better understand what encourages or stops people with dementia from attending. 

How will this project help people with dementia? 

By understanding what encourages people with dementia to attend an exercise class and why they continue to attend as their dementia progresses, improvements can be made to exercise interventions currently available.

This project will develop a toolkit, presenting guidelines for setting up exercise classes that are more inclusive for people with dementia. This resource can be made available for a range of settings, making classes more widely available for ethnic minority communities and in rural areas.

The aim is to continue to promote improvements in the strength, health, and well-being of people with dementia. 

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