After stroke, it has been noted that up to 70% of people have cognitive impairment , between 20-60% experience depression and most are significantly less active than healthy older adults. These deficits are particularly problematic as they affect quality of life, participation in community activities and lead to a cycle of declining function. In people post stroke, participation in exercise programs has been associated with improvements in cognitive function, but others have found no cognitive improvements. Other exercise programs have helped people with stroke with depression, decreased falls incidence, and improved walking activity, but other research shows a lack of carryover of exercise programs to participation in the community. Of note, some standard outcome measures used in this work are not sensitive to change and some disadvantage those with aphasia, while many have been almost exclusively paper and pencil tests. This research project will be using a battery of cognitive measures to capture change in participants.
The investigators will assess the person’s ability to change their cognitive status by using functional tests with and without a cognitive challenge and compare changes with those seen in computerized testing as that represents the gold standard. This unique program attempts to combine multiple aspects that easily fit together including music and a group setting for socialization. The use of music to improve cognition as has been shown in other research studies to improve participation in exercise program. By linking cognitive retraining, low intensity exercise, group activities and music, the researchers of this project can determine if a movement program with these attributes can benefit individuals as a program of wellness, once their rehabilitation plans have been completed. The researchers are specifically interested in the effect on balance, activity and incidence of falls in people with chronic stroke. Additionally, the researchers will investigate the differences that this structured program will make on older adults who will act as a comparison group. This will bring insight into some of the additional challenges that people with stroke encounter on a daily basis.
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