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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Understanding the experiences of rural community-dwelling older adults in using a new DVD-delivered Otago Exercise Program in British Columbia Agha, Arun


INTRODUCTION: The home-based Otago Exercise Program (OEP) has been shown to reduce the occurrence of falls in community-dwelling seniors. A new OEP DVD was recently developed to be delivered to people living in rural communities with minimal coaching by a physical therapist (PT). This thesis aimed to: 1) understand older adults’ experiences in using the DVD-delivered OEP, and 2) explore barriers and facilitators to implementing the DVD-delivered OEP from the participants’ perspectives. METHODS: Thirty-two rural community-dwelling older adults (≥75 years old) who participated in a six-month DVD-delivered OEP study were invited to participate in this qualitative study. Two small group interviews were initially conducted to explore the breadth of participants’ experiences with the program. These were followed by semi-structured individual interviews to gain an in-depth understanding of these experiences. An inductive constant comparison analysis involving coding of transcripts was performed. To ensure methodological rigour, field notes, journaling and an audit trail were maintained and peer-review took place. RESULTS: Five participants partook in group interviews and 16 in individual interviews. Three themes emerged. Theme 1, ‘The OEP DVD: Useful training tool but in need of more pep’, reflected participants’ experiences that the DVD provided important guidance at program onset, but was too slow and low-energy for longer-term use. Theme 2, ‘Providing greater control over one’s exercise regimen, but sometimes life gets in the way of staying active’, described participants’ appreciation of the program’s flexibility, but personal health concerns and everyday lives imposed challenges for adhering to the program. Theme 3, ‘Social creatures: Wanting greater human connection during exercise’, described how some participants desired further social interactions for enhancing motivation and sense of guidance. CONCLUSION: PTs prescribing the OEP should inform participants of the option to use the manual whenever they feel they have taken full advantage of the DVD and to perform the program with friends and family. The importance of exercise even when living with health problems should be raised at program onset, and methods of integrating the program with everyday activities should be promoted.

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