Community-dwelling older adults fear loss of independence and nursing home placement more than death. Walking difficulty often leads to loss of independence. Exercise is beneficial to physical and mental health and may prevent walking difficulty and promote independence. Recognizing the importance of exercise, senior housing facilities offer exercise programs to their residents. The exercise programs are often group-based, seated range-of-motion exercises that do not challenge the older adult; consequently, participation rates and resident satisfaction are low. If the goal is to improve walking to promote independence, then the exercise program should specifically target walking. Therefore, we developed a challenging group exercise program entitled “On the Move” which focuses on the fundamentals of walking. In this research study, we will determine if the On the Move program is better than a standard program at improving walking and promoting independence and if the same benefits can be obtained if the On the Move program is delivered by staff of the senior living facilities instead of an exercise leader. To answer these questions, 560 community-dwelling older adults living in 28 different Independent Living Facilities and Senior High Rises will be randomly assigned to either the 12-week On the Move group exercise program or the standard group exercise program delivered by either an exercise leader or staff activity personnel. Participants’ walking and reported ability to carry out everyday activities (functional ability) will be assessed before and after the 12-week program. We will also assess participant safety and satisfaction with the exercise program and instructor. The findings from this research study will provide evidence for the value of the On the Move group exercise program and will better inform patient choices regarding participation in exercise programs. If successful in improving walking and promoting independence and acceptable to older adults, the On the Move program could be incorporated into exercise programming for older adults in community centers, health clubs, and senior residences across the country.
Brach JS, Perera S, Gilmore S, VanSwearingen JM, Brodine D, Wert D, Nadkarni NK, Ricci E. Stakeholder involvement in the design of a patient-centered comparative effectiveness trial of the "On the Move" group exercise program in community-dwelling older adults. Contemp Clin Trials. 2016 Sep;50:135-42. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2016.08.003. Epub 2016 Aug 10. PubMed PMID: 27521806; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5035644. (Abstract only available)