Tai chi and yoga in residential aged care: Perspectives of participants: A qualitative study

J Clin Nurs. 2018 Dec;27(23-24):4390-4399. doi: 10.1111/jocn.14590. Epub 2018 Jul 24.


Aims and objectives: This qualitative study examined the appropriateness and acceptability of 14-week modified tai chi and yoga programmes in an Australian residential aged care (RAC) setting by exploring experiences and perspectives of frail older residents and staff participants.

Background: Older persons in RAC have limited opportunities for physical activity. Tai chi and yoga are mindfulness-based exercise interventions that have been used to promote physical and psychological health of older adults in community settings. While research on tai chi and yoga interventions in community settings is promising, there is limited research regarding the interventions' appropriateness and acceptability for frail older residents in residential care settings in Australia.

Design: Descriptive and qualitative component of a mixed-methods study.

Methods: All residents who participated in the modified yoga and tai chi interventions and staff who supported them were invited. A total of 19 individuals comprising 16 residents and three staff members participated in three focus group interviews. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically using a qualitative descriptive approach.

Results: Nine themes that reflected the uniqueness of the programmes' mind-body approach are presented: (a) novel, new and exciting; (b) smoothness, rhythm and flow; (c) slow and mindful; (d) gentle but rewarding; (e) moving whole body; (f) perceived benefits; (g) worthwhile; (h) feeling alive; and (i) calming and relaxing.

Conclusions: The modified programmes of tai chi and yoga was acceptable, appropriate, enjoyable and helpful. Both tai chi and yoga appear to provide appropriate physical exercise and opportunities for older persons to enhance their quality of life through interaction of physical, emotional and intellectual wellness domains.

Relevance to clinical practice: The 14-week modified programmes of tai chi and yoga could be applied to frail older RAC population to promote health and active ageing.

Keywords: aged care; complementary therapies; exercise intervention; focus groups; health promotion; long-term care; nursing home care; overall well-being; qualitative descriptive; residential care.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Emotions
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life
  • Tai Ji*
  • Yoga*