Comparing the Effects of Physical, Cognitive and Combined Rehabilitation on the Improvement of Working Memory and Cognitive Flexibility of the Elderly

Document Type: Original Article

Author

Department of Physical Education, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

Abstract

The present study aimed to compare the effects of physical, cognitive and combined rehabilitation on improving working memory and cognitive flexibility of the elderly living in the nursing home. This quasi-experimental study was carried out with a pretest-posttest design in four groups with the control group. The statistical population consisted of all elderly residents of a nursing home in Tehran. 48 people were selected randomly and divided into four groups (three experimental groups and one control group). For the experimental groups, intervention programs, including physical, cognitive, and combined rehabilitation, were conducted in three sessions of one hour each week for two months. The data were collected using a working memory capacity scale and a cognitive flexibility inventory (CFI). Data was analyzed using a one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and Bonferroni post hoc test using SPSS software version 22. The results showed that all three types of rehabilitation programs have a significant effect on improving the working memory and cognitive flexibility of the elderly (P <0.001). Also, the mean of groups in the pre-test and post-test stages showed that among the three programs, the combined rehabilitation program had more efficacy in improving the working memory and cognitive flexibility of the elderly and there was no difference between the two types of physical and cognitive rehabilitation programs (P> 0.001) According to the findings, combined rehabilitation programs can be effective in improving the working memory and cognitive flexibility due to the focus on both physical and cognitive aspects.

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