Revista Egitania Sciencia - SIEFLAS Edição Especial | ARTICLE

Title: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND FUNCTIONAL FITNESS IN ELDERLY LIVING IN NURSING HOMES OR USING DAY CARE CENTERS: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY

Author: Soraia Ferreira (soraiapf5@hotmail.com) * Nilton Leite (niltonleitecuba@gmail.com) ** José Marmeleira (jmarmel@uevora.pt) *** Armando Raimundo (ammr@uevora.pt) ***

Publication: Revista Egitania Sciencia - SIEFLAS Edição Especial

Abstract:
Introduction. The loss of physical function, health problems, limited support from families and few financial resources, leads to institutionalization. Currently, one of the problems associated with institutionalization is the higher sedentary behavior and consequent loss of autonomy. Therefore, the main purpose of this study was to examine physical activity (PA) levels and functional fitness of older adults living in nursing homes or using day care center. Method. Thirty-two older adults (85.5 ± 5.7 years) from both genders (women=24; men=8) participated in this study; 14 nursing home residents and 18-day care center users. Physical activity data were collected through accelerometry. Functional fitness was evaluated with physical fitness field tests. Results: The participants of this study have extremely low levels of functional fitness and PA and high levels of sedentary behavior. In nursing home residents (NH), the mean time in sedentary behavior and moderate PA was 9h48min/day and 2.2 min/day, respectively. In the same group, the mean time spent in light PA was 77.5 min/day. In day care center (DCC) users the mean time in sedentary behavior and moderate PA was 7h48min/day and 1.6 min/day, respectively. Older adults attending DCC showed better results than nursing home residents in the chair sit-and-reach test (DCC= -12.4±15.7 cm, NH= -22.3±4.1 cm, p=0.037), 6 min walking test (DCC= 270±73.9 min, NH= 167.7±84.4 min, p<0.001) sedentary time (DCC= 7.48±0.2 hours, NH= 9.48±0.94 hours, p<0.01) and average PA (DCC= 82.6±18 counts/min, NH= 58.5±30.5 counts/min, p=0.03). The performance in other tests (30-s chair stand; back scratch; arm curl; 8 foot up-and-go) of functional fitness was not statistically different. Conclusions: Functional fitness and PA levels are very low both in older adults living in nursing homes or in those that are users of DCC. Intervention programs are needed for these groups to reverse the decrease of physical fitness and PA, and promoting health and functional status.

Keywords: physical activity; functional fitness; older adults




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