Problem Areas and Strategies in a Cognitive Exercise Program

Visual and organizational problems.

Patients are recording information on pieces of paper divided into numbered boxes. For instance, if they are to do four sets of 15 bicep curls, there is a box for each set where they record their heart rate and perceived effort on the Borgs scale. To help with visual and/or organizational problems, the therapists have designed simplified forms with larger boxes and fewer exercises on each page.

Difficulty with memory.

If patients have problems learning the techniques for the upper arm or squatting exercises, they are given stick drawings or photos of themselves doing the exercises as memory cues. They may use checklists to help them remember the steps to use a piece of equipment safely or calculate the weight bars for resistance equipment.

Distractibility.

If clients have difficulty exercising while other activities are going on around them, the therapists may have them exercise in a quieter area. For some, it helps merely to move them closer to a clock so they can take their pulse more accurately without distractions. Clients who are easily distracted are encouraged to talk quietly to themselves, which helps them keep their attention on their tasks.

Difficulty in persistence.

Clients who have problem finishing the exercises or remembering the techniques may be paired with a buddy. The two encourage and help each other. Eventually, clients learn to do the exercises alone.