Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

As Elders Rock, Emotional Burden Of Dementia Eases

Date:
May 1, 1998
Source:
University Of Rochester
Summary:
Nursing home residents who have dementia can literally rock away their anxiety and depression, nurse researchers have found, simply by rocking back and forth in a rocking chair for about an hour or two a day. Patients who rocked the most in a research study even requested less medication to ease their daily aches and pains, and their balance improved.

Nursing home residents who have dementia can literally rock away their anxiety and depression, nurse researchers have found, simply by rocking back and forth in a rocking chair for about an hour or two a day. Patients who rocked the most in a research study even requested less medication to ease their daily aches and pains, and their balance improved.

Related Articles


Nurses from the University of Rochester presented the work at a meeting of the Eastern Nursing Research Society April 23-25 in Rochester.

"There's the stereotype of older people on a porch happily going back and forth in their rocking chairs," says nurse researcher Nancy Watson. "It turns out that the activity really does bring some peace of mind to many folks.

"It's been very well documented with infants that a gentle repetitive motion has a soothing effect. We've shown that the same is true in an older population that is emotionally distressed."

In a study funded by the New York State Department of Health, Watson studied 25 nursing home residents diagnosed as having dementia, either due to Alzheimer's disease or other causes. Nurses at Kirkhaven, a nursing home in Rochester, closely monitored patient behavior for the six weeks residents rocked and compared it to their behavior during six weeks when the rocking mechanism on the chairs was disabled.

During the weeks they rocked, most residents' psychological and emotional well-being improved, says Watson, an assistant professor in the University's School of Nursing and an expert in gerontological nursing research, an area where the University is ranked among the top 10 nationwide.

"Right away, nursing aides noticed the most dramatic effect: The chair served to calm someone down when he or she was emotionally upset. The aide helped the resident to the chair and got them rocking, and it calmed the patient right down."

In the study, residents rocked for anywhere from half an hour to two and a half hours each day for five days a week. While not all the residents improved, those who rocked the most improved the most, Watson says. "The more they rocked, the better they felt."

Behaviors like crying or expressions of anxiety, tension, and depression dropped in the 11 patients who rocked more than 80 minutes a day. Such behaviors fell anywhere from slightly to almost one-third.

Several patients also requested less pain medication during weeks they rocked, Watson says; generally, those who rocked the most asked for pain medication less often, ranging from a very slight reduction to two or three fewer requests per week. Patients who rocked less asked for at least as much pain medication, and sometimes more.

Zealous rockers also improved their balance, a huge concern among the elderly population, where a fall often leads to drastically scaled-back quality of life. Watson says it's possible that the gentle rocking motion helped stimulate the residents' vestibular system, which helps maintain balance.

Residents used platform-style rocking chairs that work like conventional rockers but have a super-stable, immobile base and move back and forth very easily. Aides gradually introduced residents to the chairs, encouraging but not pushing residents to rock.

Watson says that nursing home staff and loved ones of residents who seem happier and less anxious have been very interested in the research. She says rocking-chair therapy could become an important treatment tool for the approximately 1.6 million people in U.S. nursing homes, more than half of whom suffer from some form of dementia.

"Rocking provides a worthwhile, mild form of exercise for these people," says Watson. "It would be difficult to take every patient for a walk, for instance, but residents can rock themselves, and many are happy to do so, given a little encouragement. This is an easy step to improve the quality of life for people in nursing homes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Rochester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Rochester. "As Elders Rock, Emotional Burden Of Dementia Eases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980501083053.htm>.
University Of Rochester. (1998, May 1). As Elders Rock, Emotional Burden Of Dementia Eases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980501083053.htm
University Of Rochester. "As Elders Rock, Emotional Burden Of Dementia Eases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980501083053.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins