The multitude of benefits of exercise are clear, but what is not as well recognized is that exercise for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can be particularly helpful in various ways. It can help reduce the risk for muscle weakness as well as other issues that stem from inactivity, can reduce the impact of emotional and behavioral changes, and more. What’s important is to choose exercises for each stage of dementia that are appropriate to the individual’s particular ability level in order to reap these benefits.
As with anyone who is interested in starting a new exercise program, a doctor should first be consulted. After that, try integrating more physical activity into each day for a senior loved one with dementia, implementing the following strategies in accordance with the appropriate stage associated with the disease:
Seniors in the first stages of Alzheimer’s can enjoy relatively active and social exercises, such as dancing, swimming, bowling, golf, and walking, though some degree of guidance and oversight may be needed. In time, enhanced supervision will probably be required as the disease progresses.
Mid to Later Stages
The mid to later stages of Alzheimer’s disease are often associated with elevated levels of confusion and anxiety. For that reason, loud or overly exciting activities should be avoided. Repetitive exercises, such as indoor bicycling and walking, and tasks like folding laundry, help to reduce anxiety levels as the older adult does not have to make any decisions related to the activity or try to remember what to do next.
During the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, children’s toys may be well suited for encouraging hand-eye coordination. These toys are usually brightly colored, easy to hold, and are designed to stimulate the brain. Additionally, stress balls or soft clay-like products can be squeezed to help strengthen the muscles in the hands.
Dakota Home Care’s dementia care providers are fully trained and experienced in inventive, kind, and thoughtful care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, and we are always here to help families maximize wellbeing for the seniors they love. We are skilled in helping to successfully manage such challenging behaviors as sundowning, aggression, wandering, and much more, and can offer overnight respite care to allow family caregivers to get a restful night’s sleep while knowing their senior loved one is secure and safe.
Call us at (877) 691-0015 to find out more about our specialized in-home dementia care, or to request some additional tips and resources specific to the challenges you are facing. We’re pleased to offer elder care in Fargo, ND as well as Bismarck and Mandan that helps keep older adults with dementia safe at home.