Older people with mild cognitive impairment may benefit from a new type of exercise that mimics real-life work. Researchers in Queensland, Australia, developed a 10-week program to provide mental stimulation and physical exercise that they call Functional Task Simulation. It involves very specific movement patterns used in placing and collecting dishes on a table.

The investigators recruited 83 individuals between 60 and 88 years of age. All had mild cognitive impairment. They were randomly assigned to the exercise program or pencil and paper assignments for 10 weeks.

After 12 weeks, those who had participated in the functional simulation exercises did significantly better than at baseline on tests of memory, cognitive function and problem solving. The control group improved their test scores as well, but not nearly as much. This pilot program is encouraging and should be followed up with further research.  

[Age and Ageing, online May 21, 2014]

At The People’s Pharmacy, we hope to continue with our everyday tasks (including setting the table) into our older years. Perhaps that will help us stave off cognitive decline. If not, we hope the Australian researchers will inspire others to develop their innovative exercise program further, so we can follow it and stay as sharp as possible. 

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  1. jm

    ds, my son has a TBI. While searching for something that might help him I found this website; http://www.brainhealtheducation.org/ This doctor has developed an Omega-3 protocol in order to help the brain heal itself. I found it very interesting and decided it was worth a try. I do not have any results to share yet as I just ordered the Omega-3 this week. As to advice about applying for SS disability, etc. if relative is in a facility they might have social workers available to patients for assistance with these types of things.

  2. oldetimer

    The article does not mention what the “very specific movement patterns” are. How do we find out?

  3. ds

    I very much would appreciate information about specifics & where to contact to obtain assistance. I think may be applicable in Traumatic Brain Injury (due to fall from bicycle) A VERY FIT, very Wholesome 33 year old relative Needs extra help that can be used by trained Layperson. Patient is in Rehab now with good program. But downtime after sleep/rest a problem. Gets bored then makes misjudgements about abilities. Currently Unable to make sound judgments due to injury, thus possibly endangering self.
    Any information provided would clear w. Rehab. But could also use when Patient is Discharged. Help Please. Also any “specific” advice about Rehab for Right side injury, possibly frontal lobe may be necessary. Left side of body is impaired. Need advice for applying for SOCIAL SECURITY Disability & other Rehab & IN HOME PROFESSIONAL PT CARE will be welcomed. Thank you sincerely.

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