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Physical activity preferences of older home care clients

Authors

  • Elissa Burton BSc, MBus, PhD,

    Doctor, Corresponding author
    1. School of Physiotherapy & Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia
    2. Silver Chain, WA, Australia
    • Correspondence:

      Elissa Burton

      School of Physiotherapy & Exercise Science

      Curtin University

      GPO Box U1987

      Perth, WA 6845

      Australia

      Telephone: +61 8 9266 7993

      E-mail: E.Burton@curtin.edu.au

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  • Gill Lewin BSc, MSc, PhD, MPH,

    Professor
    1. Silver Chain, WA, Australia
    2. School of Nursing & Midwifery, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia
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  • Duncan Boldy BSc, MSc, PhD, Cert Ed

    Professor
    1. School of Nursing & Midwifery, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia
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Abstract

Background

Physical activity contributes to an older person's health and well-being by maintaining strength, balance and mobility, all of which are important for older people who wish to remain living in their home for as long as possible. It is therefore essential that community nurses and those working with home care clients promote being physically active. To do this effectively requires an understanding of the type of physical activity older home care clients prefer to engage in.

Aim

The aims of this study were to identify the physical activity preferences of older people who received a home care service and to determine whether being physically active is important to this population.

Methods

Twenty older home care clients were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule. Data were analysed using a descriptive qualitative methodology.

Results

Walking, housework and gardening were identified as the activities of choice. The majority of interviewees suggested that it was important to be physically active.

Conclusion

Structured exercise programmes are not the activity of choice for older home care clients. Therefore, when community nurses and allied health workers promote physical activity to their clients, they should suggest activities such as walking, housework and gardening and also endorse the benefits of physical activity for well-being and staying independent.

Implication for practice

Health and community nurses and organisations should routinely encourage home care clients to increase their activity levels, especially utilising those activities they most enjoy.

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