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Dementia (London). 2013 Mar;12(2):268-79. doi: 10.1177/1471301211422769. Epub 2011 Nov 20.

The management of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia in residential homes: does Tai Chi have any role for people with dementia?

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  • 1Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, UK.


Dementia is a common illness that is increasing in frequency and set to challenge the resources and expertise of health and social care services over the coming years. Increasingly, there has been interest in the management of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), as they are both common and associated with a range of negative outcomes. BPSD are associated with the admission of people with dementia to care homes. Limited resources and lack of knowledge in permanent care settings often lead to BPSD being managed with antipsychotic medications, which are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. There is evidence for the benefits of exercise within care home settings, although only a few studies include those with cognitive impairment. Tai Chi is a mind-body exercise combining relaxed physical movement and meditation, and has been suggested to have many health benefits. This article discusses the rationale and available options for treating BPSD and the current practice and reviews the literature regarding the benefits of exercise and, in particular, Tai Chi in the management of BPSD.


BPSD; Tai Chi; behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia; dementia; exercise

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