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Exploring the effect of foot massage on agitated behaviours in older people with dementia: A pilot study


Professor Wendy Moyle, Research Centre for Clinical and Community Practice Innovation, Griffith University. Email:


Aim:  To explore the effects of foot massage on agitated behaviours in older people with dementia living in long-term care.

Methods:  Seventeen men and 5 women (mean age 84.7 years), with a diagnosis of dementia and a history of clinically significant agitation, received a 10-minute foot massage each day for 14 days. The short form of the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI-SF) and the Revised Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist (RMBPC) were completed at baseline, post-test and 2-weeks follow up.

Results:  CMAI-SF and RMBPC scores were significantly reduced at post-test and remained significantly lower than baseline at follow up.

Conclusion:  This study provides preliminary evidence suggesting that limited short-duration foot massage reduces agitation and related behavioural problems in people with dementia, and that these behaviour changes are maintained after the massage ceases. A randomised controlled trial is required to confirm these findings.