Keeping Active in Residential Elderly (KARE) project
The KARE project was designed to evaluate the impact of resistance training on multi-dimensional health in frail and pre-frail older adults in residential care. The studies were feasibility trials which means they were intended to check if it was safe, practical, and suitable to do so. 11 frail and 11 pre-frail older adults aged 73-95 took part in the studies.
The participants attended group exercise sessions using 5 HUR SmartTouch resistance machines which were installed in the care home lounge, 3 times a week for 6 weeks. All participants completed a comprehensive series of tests pre and post the exercise intervention. In this study, participants' strength, functional ability were measured, blood samples were analyzed and psychological, emotional, and cognitive health, and measures of social support were assessed. Interviews and discussion groups were also conducted during the intervention.
In the frail group, meaningful clinical differences in walking speed, strength, functional capacity, and frailty were found after 6 weeks intervention. Participants also said that they felt more stable, more confident and capable. The participants spoke of enjoying the group sessions, gaining new skills with technology, and feeling more independent. In the pre-frail group, the feedback was positive, especially in relation to mental health benefits. Participants spoke about having a better outlook on life, having more energy and confidence. They were clear and enthusiastic about the equipment and technology.
The care home purchased some of the equipment to continue to support active ageing after the end of the trial.
“This was an ambitious and challenging project. However, working with HUR made all things possible, from equipment to training and support. It was a great experience for researchers, care staff and participants, and clearly shows that resistance training can improve health and quality of life at any age.” says Bridgitte Swales, lead researcher of this study.
Swales, B., Ryde, G. C., & Whittaker, A. C. (2021). A Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial Evaluating a Resistance Training Intervention with Frail Older Adults in Residential Care: The Keeping Active in Residential Elderly Trial. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 30(3), 364-388.
Swales, B., Ryde, G. C., & Whittaker, A. C. (revisions under review). A Mixed Methods Feasibility Study of Machine-Based Resistance Training with Pre-Frail Older Adults in Residential Care: The KARE-II Trial.