The effects of a walking/talking program on communication, ambulation, and functional status in residents with Alzheimer disease.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a walking/talking program on residents' communication, ambulation, and level of function when there were two residents to one care provider (2:1). A randomized control trial design was used. Subjects were residents with Alzheimer disease in three geriatric long-term care facilities in Metropolitan Toronto. Residents who met the inclusion criteria were randomly assigned to one of three groups: walk-and-talk group (30 min, 5 times per week for 16 weeks, walking/talking in pairs), talk-only group (30 min, 5 times per week for 16 weeks, talk only in pairs), or no intervention. The outcome measures were the Functional Assessment of Communication Skills for Adults, the 2-min walk test, and London Psychogeriatric Rating Scale. Residents who received the walk-and-talk intervention did not demonstrate statistically significant differences in the outcome variables measured posttest when compared with residents who received the talk-only intervention or no intervention, even after controlling for individual differences. Variability in the outcomes measured posttest is explained by differences in the residents' level of cognitive impairment before the study rather than by study group membership. These findings are contradictory to those of previous studies.