Cornell University: Tai Chi Becoming Popular Pain Management Approach in Senior Centers
October 26, 2013 -
As the interest in non-pharmacologic approaches for managing pain continues to
grow, Weill Cornell Medical College, a NYC-based college of Cornell University,
performed a study to determine the types of pain-relevant programs offered by
senior centers and whether the programs varied by clients' race/ethnicity status
and center size.
A telephone survey was conducted. Respondents were presented with a list of 15
programs and the option to choose "other" and asked (1) whether the activity was
offered and, if so, how often; (2) if they believed the programs had value for
seniors with pain; and (3) whether the classes were advertised as a means of
achieving pain relief.
Of 204 center staff contacted, 195 (95.6%) participated. The most common
programs offered were movement-based, including exercise (by 91.8% of the
centers), dance (72.3%), walking clubs (71.8%), yoga (65.6%), and Tai Chi
(53.3%) classes. Creative arts programs were also frequently offered, including
music (58.5%) and fine arts (47.7%). Programs such as stress management (27%)
and relaxation (26%) classes were less commonly offered.
Most respondents identified movement-based programs as helpful for seniors with
pain, but few identified creative arts classes as potentially beneficial. The
programs/classes offered were infrequently advertised as a means of helping
seniors manage pain and varied by clients' race/ethnicity status and center
Programs that have potential utility for older adults with pain are commonly
offered by senior centers. The researchers believe that future research should
determine optimal strategies for engaging older adults in these programs in the
senior center setting.
These findings are published in the October 2013 issue of the journal
Pain Management Nursing.