Can functional task exercise improve executive function and contribute to functional balance in older adults with mild cognitive impairment? A pilot study

Lawla L.F. Law, Nai Kuen Fong, Matthew M.K. Yau

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Individuals with cognitive impairment are more susceptible to falls associated with decreased executive function and balance. This pilot study investigated whether functional task exercise could improve executive function, which might further affect the functional balance in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Method: This was a single-group pre-test/post-test pilot. A total of 43 participants completed a 10-week structured functional task exercise programme, performing simulated functional tasks. Paired-samples t-test was performed to evaluate intervention effects. Associations between variables were examined using Pearson's correlation coefficient. Multiple regression analysis was performed to explore the contribution of cognitive variables to functional balance. Results: Significant improvements were shown in general cognitive functions, executive function, functional balance and functional status. All executive function outcomes were significantly associated with functional balance. Everyday problem-solving ability was the only significant cognitive contributor (β = 0.407, p < 0.05) to functional balance after controlling for the confounding factors. Conclusion: This pilot showed functional task exercise using simulated functional task as a means of intervention was feasible and was associated with observed improvements in executive function and functional balance in older adults with mild cognitive impairment, whereas everyday problem-solving ability was found to be associated with functional balance. Further well-designed controlled studies are needed to draw more definitive conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-502
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • functional balance
  • functional task exercise
  • Mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy

Cite this