Ageing well: Pilot evaluation of a dual-task training program in a rural community

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This pilot trial examined the feasibility and effectiveness of ‘Ageing Well’, a community-based program for improving cognitive skills and mobility of rural older people.Design & setting: The non-randomised, waitlist-controlled pilot trial was conducted at a regional NSW university clinic.Participants: 23 community-dwelling adults aged 60+ who had begun to experience a decline in their physical and/or cognitive abilities.Interventions: Dual-tasking activities simultaneously challenged participants’ motor and cognitive abilities. Student facilitators encouraged participants to progress through increasingly complex functional tasks in a range of contexts, including a café, supermarket and a simulated ‘home’.Main outcome measures: The Patient Reported Evaluation of Cognitive State (PRECiS) measured the impact of participant's cognitive state in terms of how much they were ‘bothered’ by problems with their cognition. Functional mobility was measured by the Timed Up-and-Go (TUG), a test of static and dynamic balance, and the Six Minute Walk Test (6MWT).Results: 75 community members requested to participate. Intervention participants’ PRECiS ratings in relation to impacts on their performance of everyday skills improved substantially, while the control group did not change (p=.04, ηp 2 =.18). Intervention participants walked 12% further in the 6MWT post intervention, while the control group distance did not change (p=.03, ηp2 =.22). TUG time was reduced by 1 second in the intervention group.Conclusions: There is strong interest in this dual-tasking program among older community-dwelling residents in this rural setting. The results of this pilot study support the feasibility and effectiveness of the Ageing Well program. Further trials are warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-316
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number4
Early online date28 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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