Aim: To explore the effects of a dementia-specific, aquatic exercise intervention on behavioural and psychological symptoms in people with dementia (BPSD).
Method: Residents from two aged care facilities in Queensland, Australia, received a 12-week intervention consisting of aquatic exercises for strength, agility, flexibility, balance and relaxation. The Psychological Well-Being in Cognitively Impaired Persons Scale (PW-BCIP) and the Revised Memory and Behaviour Problems Checklist (RMBPC) were completed by registered nurses at baseline, week 6, week 9 and post intervention.
Results: Ten women and one man (median age = 88.4 years, interquartile range = 12.3) participated. Statistically significant declines in the RMBPC and PW-BCIP were observed over the study period.
Conclusion: Preliminary evidence suggests that a dementia-specific, aquatic exercise intervention reduces BPSD and improves psychological well-being in people with moderate to severe dementia. With further testing, this innovative intervention may prove effective in addressing some of the most challenging aspects of dementia care.
Keywords: behavioural and psychological symptoms; dementia; long-term care; non-pharmacological intervention.
© 2013 ACOTA.