Motivation to participate in exercise among people with dementia has not been well studied. The symptoms of dementia, including apathy, may lead to low motivation to participate in exercise. The aim of this study was to evaluate the motivation of older people with dementia to participate in a high-intensity exercise program compared with motivation of those participating in a social group activity.
The Umeå Dementia and Exercise Study (UMDEX) was a cluster-randomized controlled intervention trial including 186 people (mean age; 85, 75% female) with dementia in nursing homes. Participants were randomized to participate in the High-Intensity Functional Exercise (HIFE) Program (n = 93) or a seated social group activity (n = 93). The activities were conducted in groups of 3-8 participants for 45 minutes, five times per two-week period, for 4 months (40 sessions in total). Participants' motivation to go to and during activity sessions were assessed by the activity leaders and nursing homes staff using a five-point Likert scale. Data were analyzed using cumulative link mixed models.
Motivation was high or very high during 61.0% of attended sessions in the exercise group and 62.6% in the social activity group. No overall significant difference between groups was observed, but motivation increased over time in the exercise group and decreased in the social activity group (p