A study published in Clinical Interventions in Aging has found that Tai Chi has positive health benefits to elderly who have been suffering from dementia, or poor memory.
Researchers from the Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, England, looked at the effects of Tai Chi on people with dementia, specifically they wanted to know whether Tai Chi could help prevent falls and improve their quality of life.
Lead study author Dr. Samuel Nyman from the Bournemouth University said, “We were really interested to see if Tai Chi improves balance and prevents falls among people with dementia. This is an important issue because people with dementia are twice as likely to fall, and twice as likely to have injuries as a result of falls.”
The researchers compared the group of people who did normal activities with another group that took a Tai Chi program for six months.
The group that did Tai Chi maintained a good quality of life than the group that did normal activities. In fact, the group that did normal activities had a decline in their quality of life.
“We found that those who did Tai Chi really enjoyed the classes and meeting up with others who have dementia and their family carers,” added Dr. Nyman.
“We found Tai Chi to be an incredibly safe and gentle exercise, and family carers were happy to support their loved ones with the classes and home practice,” he continued. “Although we found no improvements in scores on balance tests, there was a strong trend for those in the Tai Chi group to have fewer falls.”
The participants underwent Tai Chi sessions in Southampton, Dorset, and Portsmouth.
The authors explained they are planning to continue the study by including more participants in order to prove that Tai Chi does help in preventing falls, especially in older people who have dementia. The study will also find out how exactly Tai Chi helps to reduce falls.