This site uses cookies to measure how you use the website so it can be updated and improved based on your needs and also uses cookies to help remember the notifications you’ve seen, like this one, so that we don’t show them to you again. If you could also tell us a little bit about yourself, this information will help us understand how we can support you better and make this site even easier for you to use and navigate.

Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise (PLIE): qualitative analysis of a clinical trial in older adults with dementia


Wu, E., Barnes, D. E., Ackerman, S. L., Lee, J., Chesney, M., Mehling, W. E.


Aging Ment Health, Volume: 19, No.: 4, Pages.: 353-62

Year of Publication



OBJECTIVES: Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise (PLIE) is a novel, integrative exercise program for individuals with dementia that combines elements of different conventional and complementary exercise modalities (e.g. tai-chi, yoga, Feldenkrais, and dance movement therapy) and focuses on training procedural memory for basic functional movements (e.g., sit-to-stand) while increasing mindful body awareness and facilitating social connection. This study presents analyses of qualitative data collected during a 36-week cross-over pilot clinical trial in 11 individuals. METHODS: Qualitative data included exercise instructors’ written notes, which were prepared after each class and also following biweekly telephone calls with caregivers and monthly home visits; three video-recorded classes; and written summaries prepared by research assistants following pre- and post-intervention quantitative assessments. Data were extracted for each study participant and placed onto a timeline for month of observation. Data were coded and analyzed to identify themes that were confirmed and refined through an iterative, collaborative process by the entire team including a qualitative researcher (SA) and the exercise instructors. RESULTS: Three overarching themes emerged: (1) Functional changes included increasing body awareness, movement memory and functional skill. (2) Emotional changes included greater acceptance of resting, sharing of personal stories and feelings, and positive attitude toward exercise. (3) Social changes included more coherent social interactions and making friends. CONCLUSIONS: These qualitative results suggest that the PLIE program may be associated with beneficial functional, emotional, and social changes for individuals with mild to moderate dementia. Further study of the PLIE program in individuals with dementia is warranted.

Bibtex Citation

@article{Wu_2014, doi = {10.1080/13607863.2014.935290}, url = {}, year = 2014, month = {jul}, publisher = {Informa {UK} Limited}, volume = {19}, number = {4}, pages = {353--362}, author = {Eveline Wu and Deborah E. Barnes and Sara L. Ackerman and Jennifer Lee and Margaret Chesney and Wolf E. Mehling}, title = {Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise ({PLI}{'{E}}): qualitative analysis of a clinical trial in older adults with dementia}, journal = {Aging {&} Mental Health} }


aged, aged, 80 and over, chi, clinical trials as topic, dementia, emotions, exercise, exercise therapy, feldenkrais, female, friends, health knowledge attitudes practice, humans, interpersonal relations, making, male, memory, methods, psychology, qualitative, qualitative research, san francisco, tai, therapy, yoga

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Other, Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes

Other, Physical Health


Day Care

Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Complementary therapies, Exercise (inc. dancing)