A study conducted by Bournemouth University found that Tai Chi brings positive health benefits to older people with dementia.
The trial named ‘TACIT’ looked at the benefits that Tai Chi can bring to people with dementia, specifically examining whether Tai Chi can prevent falls and improve quality of life.
Dr Samuel Nyman, the lead researcher from Bournemouth University, led the study and said: ‘We were really interested to see if Tai Chi could improve balance and prevent falls in people with dementia. . This is an important question because people with dementia are twice as likely to fall, and twice as likely to have injuries from falls.
The research took a control group, who performed normal activities, and measured them against a similar group who all undertook a six-month Tai Chi program.
Better quality of life and fewer falls with Tai Chi
The research, published in Clinical Interventions in Aging, found that those who completed a Tai Chi program maintained a good quality of life, while those in the control group had a decline in quality of life over the same period.
Dr Nyman continues: “We found that those who did Tai Chi really enjoyed the classes and met other people with dementia and their family caregivers. We have found that Tai Chi can be an incredibly safe and gentle exercise. Family caregivers were happy to support their loved ones during classes and home practice. Although we found no improvement in balance test scores, there was a strong trend for those in the Tai Chi group to have fewer falls.
There are plans to continue the research with a larger study that will seek to prove through more data that Tai Chi can prevent falls, especially in people with dementia.
Samuel R Nyman et al: Randomized Controlled Trial Of The Effect Of Tai Chi On Postural Balance Of People With Dementia Clinical Interventions in Aging (2019). DOI: 10.2147/CIA.S228931