Effects of Physical Activity in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Marinda Henskens*, Ilse M. Nauta, Marieke C.A. Van Eekeren, Erik J.A. Scherder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background/Aims: There is no consensus regarding the optimal nonpharmacological intervention to slow down dementia-related decline. We examined whether physical stimulation interventions were effective in reducing cognitive, physical, mood, and behavioral decline in nursing home residents with dementia. Methods: Eighty-seven nursing home residents with dementia were randomly assigned to 3 physical activity interventions: activities of daily living (ADL) training, multicomponent exercise training, or combined multicomponent exercise and ADL training. Outcomes were measured at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months. Results: A 6-month ADL training benefitted executive functions, physical endurance, and depression among men. Exercise training benefitted only grip strength of participants with mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment. A combined training benefitted functional mobility compared to ADL training, depressive symptoms and agitation compared to exercise training, and physical endurance compared to no physical stimulation. Conclusions: ADL training appears to be effective for nursing home residents with moderately severe dementia. It remains unclear whether exercise training is an effective type of stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-80
Number of pages21
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number1-2
Early online date24 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


This study is funded by Stichting tanteLouise, who contributed to the conception and design of the study, helped with data acquisition, and critically revised the manuscript. The study funders had no role in the analysis and interpretation of the data. The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

FundersFunder number
Stichting TanteLouise


    • Activities of daily living
    • Behavior
    • Cognition
    • Dementia
    • Exercise
    • Mood
    • Nursing home
    • Physical functions


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