The experiences of older adults with chronic physical impairments in a six-month exercise program, effects on quality of life, self-esteem and self-efficacy
Bedard, Andrea Mary
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a six month exercise program on the quality of life, self-esteem and self-efficacy of older adults with chronic physical impairments, and to describe their experiences while in the program. The subjects were five participants in the Kinsmen Reh-fit Centre's "Nooners" program--an exercise class for older adults with substantial physical impairments (stroke, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, etc.). The subjects were interviewed both pre and post-intervention as well as at two mid-points in November and January. The interviews probed the individual's attitude towards physical activity, as well as their perceived benefits and barriers to joining this program, and the amount of social support they received. Three psychometric instruments were filled out pre- and post-intervention and were used to measure quality of life, self-esteem and self-efficacy. The data were combined and five case studies developed to describe each subject's experiences in the exercise program. Interview and observation data revealed the themes common to each subject. These themes were: dependence, depression, support, expectations, physical improvements, social interaction and effort. Results of the psychometric instruments indicated that three out of five subjects recorded an increase in quality of life, subject's self-esteem scores increased or were maintained and all of the self-efficacy scores either decreased or remained unchanged. Overall, it was concluded that this type of exercise program was beneficial to older adults with chronic physical impairments.