The many benefits of exercise are clear, but what is not as well known is that exercise for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients can be especially helpful in a variety of ways. It can help reduce the risk for muscle weakness and other issues that stem from inactivity, can ease the effects of emotional and behavioral changes, and so much more.
As with anyone interested in starting a new exercise program, a doctor should first be consulted. Then, try incorporating more physical activity into each day for a loved one with dementia, utilizing the following strategies according to each person’s individual abilities and the appropriate stage of the disease:
Seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s can enjoy fairly active and social exercises, including things like walking, dancing, bowling, golf, and swimming, although some degree of supervision and oversight may be needed. Over time, increased supervision will likely be required as the disease progresses.
Mid to Late Stages
The mid to later stages of Alzheimer’s disease are often accompanied by heightened levels of anxiety and confusion. Therefore, loud or overly stimulating activities should be avoided. Repetitive exercises, like indoor bicycling, walking, and even tasks like folding laundry help to reduce anxiety levels because the older adult does not have to make any decisions about the activity or try to remember what to do next.
For exercise for Alzheimer’s in the later stages, children’s toys are often ideal for encouraging hand-eye coordination. These toys are typically brightly colored, easy to hold onto, and are designed to stimulate the mind. Additionally, stress balls or soft clay-like products can be squeezed to help strengthen the muscles in the hands.
Complete Care at Home’s caregivers are fully trained and experienced in creative, kind, and compassionate care for those with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, and we are always here to help families improve quality of life for the seniors they love. We’re skilled in helping to effectively manage such challenging behaviors as sundowning, wandering, aggression, and more, and can provide overnight respite care to allow family caregivers to get a restful night’s sleep while knowing their loved one is safe and secure.
Contact us at 805-727-3445 to learn more about how our personal care services Santa Barbara and surrounding area families trust can help manage Alzheimer’s and dementia, or to request some additional resources and tips specific to the challenges you’re facing. We’re pleased to provide the specialized home care Montecito and the surrounding areas depend on to keep senior loved ones safe at home.