Assisted Living Residents Have Lower Levels of Physical Activity

Assisted Living Residents Have Lower Levels of Physical Activity

A recent pilot study conducted in eight assisted living communities concluded that residents do not get enough physical activity in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, reports McKnight’s.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan School of Nursing. They observed 54 residents of whom many had minimal physical activity and mostly a sedentary lifestyle. Most sat for times longer than 30 minutes or an hour. The effect of their daily physical activity on health and social factors was analyzed.

Janet L. Larson, Ph.D., RN, stated, “What I was fascinated by is that 72% of time-accumulated stepping was in less than two-minute bouts. That was startling. They’re not walking for any length of time.”

Researchers felt the lack of movement among residents is going to cause functional decline in the long run as they will not be able to maintain physical strength. Dr. Larson said, “Basically, they’re going from the recliner to the bathroom and back, or going to the recliner to the refrigerator and back, so that was a huge red flag.”

Residents who used an assistive walking device had lower levels of activity and were more sedentary. Lifestyle changes associated with being in an assisted living also contribute to lower activity levels as residents no longer need to perform chores like laundry or cooking.

Regardless of low activity levels, residents did understand the value of physical activity. Carol M. Vos, Ph.D., RN, stated, “In this study, staying active was important and all of the participants expressed that moving was essential to maintaining health and function.”

Cornerstone Rehab clinicians are dedicated to help keep older adults in skilled nursing facilities active to help promote independence. Our physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists work closely with residents to help provide care after an illness or surgery.