MSU kinesiology students, faculty bring increased exercise to Mississippi nursing home residents

Contact:  Camille Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Four Mississippi State kinesiology faculty members are helping residents in 24 Mississippi-certified nursing facilities with increasing activity and social engagement.Ashley White Jones, assistant clinical professor of kinesiology

The project called “Bingocize: An evidence-based health promotion program to improve the quality of life of Mississippi-certified nursing facility residents” is a $360,928 Medicare and Medicaid grant-funded program to be implemented by this MSU faculty team—and about 200 MSU kinesiology students—for approximately 1,000 residents over three years.

Bingocize is a strategic combination of physical exercise and the game of bingo offered in two weekly sessions. Zhujun Pan, MSU assistant professor of kinesiology and project leader, said a session begins with a group of CNF residents sitting at tables with individual bingo cards in a spacious area. Residents complete a series of gentle range-of-motion exercises, followed by the program leader calling a bingo letter/number combination. The pattern of movement and subsequent calls of bingo continue until a participant wins the game. Additional games allow for completion of the exercises while keeping the residents’ interest.

The health promotion program aims to improve quality of life for nursing home residents in the state, as well as prepare MSU students for future aging-related careers.

“We are very excited to partner with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Mississippi Division of Medicaid and the Western Kentucky University Center for Applied Science in Health and Aging to introduce Bingocize to nursing home residents in Mississippi,” Pan said.

“Our team is dedicated to improving physical activity levels and social engagement of older adults. We also aim to facilitate strong, long-term community partnerships between faculty and students at MSU and Mississippi nursing homes,” she said.

In addition to Pan, project leaders include Chih Chia Chen, assistant professor; John Lamberth, associate professor; and Ashley White Jones, assistant clinical professor at MSU-Meridian.

Pan explained that the team has a history of taking undergraduate and graduate students to local nursing homes to lead exercise sessions and visit with residents. She said the experience has been good for both the residents and students, which led her group to search for grant opportunities to support and expand exercise programs.

“Activities like Bingocize, which contain social engagement and movements, are important for residents’ physical, as well as emotional, well-being. This is especially important during this special time of social distancing due to the COVID pandemic,” she said, emphasizing that a lack of engagement and activity contributes to a decline in mobility and an increase in fall risk.

Pan said the team communicated with Jason Crandall, WKU associate professor of exercise science and kinesiology and co-director of the university’s Center for Applied Science in Health and Aging, where Bingocize originated. He has successfully implemented the program in nursing homes in his area with support from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“We are also grateful for the previous support from the MSU College of Education Undergraduate Research Grant, the MSU Office of Research and Economic Development Undergraduate Research Program Grant, and the MSU Community Engaged Research Award, which have helped our team as we have built these connections with Mississippi’s aging community.”

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