COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award Fund

Marymount University’s Center for Optimal Aging (MCOA) was recently awarded a grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award Fund (ARDRAF). Principal Investigator Julie Ries, with a team of experts consisting of: Patricia Heyn, Uma Kelekar, Rita Wong, and Catherine Diaz-Asper are investigating the Feasibility of Remote online administration of the Otago Exercise Program for Individuals with Dementia and their Care Partners. This study is consistent with Julie’s previous work, motivated by the fact that individuals with dementia fall more and are more seriously injured in falls than their age-matched, cognitively intact peers. An accessible and sustainable fall prevention program would be of great value. Using remote technology has become commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the team will use this technology to bring a web-based version of a well-established and accepted evidence-based fall prevention intervention, the Otago Exercise Program, into the homes of people with dementia and their care partners. Remote administration could overcome substantial barriers to program access. The investigators will determine the viability of this option by assessing program functionality, utility, and effectiveness. Feasibility will be evaluated by using components of the RE-AIM framework (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance). The results will guide and inform adaptations of future remote training efforts for people with dementia, with implications at the individual, family, and societal levels.

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