The relation between daily activity and cognitive functioning in nursing home residents with dementia
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Physical activity can have a positive effect on our physical health, mental health and on our brain and cognitive functioning. There are many intervention studies that examined the relation between physical activity and cognitive functioning in patients with dementia, however these studies showed mixed results. Therefore, it is not clear which therapy will be effective and if therapies can be used for specific groups of patients. To explore which specific group(s) of patients profit most from physical therapies, this study examines the relation between daily physical activity and cognitive functioning in nursing home residents with dementia, while controlling for depression, level of education, dementia severity and institutionalization time for different groups. These groups are based on walking ability (1. patients who are able to walk, with and without support, 2. patients who are not able to walk) and cognitive impairment (1. patients with severe cognitive impairment, 2. patients with mild cognitive impairment). Data of sixty-eight participants was used in this study, which was collected within two weeks, by means of cognitive tests (by means of the SIB-NL-Q), interviews and Actiwatches. The results of this study showed no relation between daily physical activity and cognitive functioning, with no differences for the different groups. However, there is found a relation between walking ability and cognitive functioning. While controlling for depression, level of education, dementia severity and institutionalization time, this first explorative study, to the relation of, in particular daily, physical activity and cognitive functioning may provide some handles for further research.