Journal Article Self-Management Group Exercise Extends Healthy Life Expectancy in Frail Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Yamada, Minoru  ,  Arai, Hidenori

Description
Preventing frailty and its adverse health outcomes is crucial in countries with a large elderly population, such as Japan. Since the long-term care insurance (LTCI) system was launched, the number of certified older adults with LTCI service requirement has continued to increase. This is a serious problem, because the LTCI service requirement certification is equivalent to disability. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a self-management group intervention on new LTCI service requirement certifications in community-dwelling older adults in Japan. We analyzed the cohort data from a prospective study. In this study, we recruited community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older who were independent in a city in Kyoto prefecture in 2012. The subjects in the participation group (n = 1620) attended 60-min group training sessions once or twice every two weeks from December 2012 to December 2016. The exercise sessions consisted of mild-intensity aerobic exercise, mild strength training, flexibility and balance exercises, and cool-down activities. These exercise classes were facilitated by well-trained volunteer staff. The outcome measure was the number of new LTCI requirement certifications during a four-year follow-up period. During the four-year follow-up period, 247 subjects (15.2%) in the participation group and 334 (20.6%) in the control group were newly certified for LTCI service requirements. The hazard ratio for new LTCI service requirements in the participation group compared with the control group was 0.73 (95% CI = 0.62–0.86) in the four-year follow-up period. These results indicate the usefulness of self-management group exercise to reduce the incidence of disability in older adults. Thus, increasing self-management group activities in each community should be encouraged.
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