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J Appl Gerontol. 2009 Apr;28(2):171-194.

Effects of a Telephone-Based Exercise Intervention for Dementia Caregiving Wives: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

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  • 1University of Michigan School of Public Health, 109 South Observatory Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029, Telephone: (734) 647-3189;


Despite the importance of self-care for dementia caregivers, few interventions have included a focus on health behaviors. The current study reports outcomes of a telephone-based exercise intervention designed for women caring for a spouse with dementia. Caregivers (N = 137) were randomized to intervention or control conditions. Participants with at or below-median exercise scores at baseline had a significantly greater increase in exercise at six-month follow-up compared to their control counterparts. At 6 months, participants had greater reductions in perceived stress relative to controls. Participants also reported significantly greater increases in exercise self-efficacy than caregivers in the control group at both follow-up points. . Results indicate that spouse caregivers are able to increase their physical activity and that a focus on exercise in multi-component interventions may be beneficial. Debate and discussion is needed to inform expectations for program impacts and their maintenance and to explore the interface between enhanced self-care and caregiving perceptions.

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