Group of senior women doing chair exercises

Remotely supervised chair yoga is a feasible solution for managing physical and psychological symptoms in socially isolated seniors with dementia, a small new pilot study finds.

Ten older participants with dementia were engaged in twice-weekly 60-minute sessions for eight weeks. They worked with a certified yoga interventionist and their caregivers, practicing breathing techniques, physical postures and guided relaxation and visualization.

During the chair yoga session, the yoga interventionist appeared in the Zoom screen in a way that allowed participants to see them without the distraction of also seeing the observing researchers, according to Juyoung Park, PhD, of Florida Atlantic University. The investigators, meanwhile, measured clinical outcomes virtually. 

The results showed that participants had 70% retention of the learned practice and 87% adherence to the yoga program with no injuries or other adverse events.

Online chair yoga classes may help to open access to interventions for people who are unable to travel to a clinic or facility, Park and colleagues said in a statement.

“An important feature of our technology-based intervention is that it could allow socially isolated older adults with dementia who are living at home, especially those in underserved communities where people are becoming more digitally connected, to receive remotely supervised chair yoga that provides physical, social and psychological benefits,” Lisa Ann Kirk Wiese, PhD, of Florida Atlantic University, concluded.

Full findings were published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

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