Physical activity boosts cognitive well-being for people of all ages. That’s an important fact to consider when seniors are dealing with illnesses like dementia. Physical activity improves physical health, but it also helps with mood regulation, reduces agitation, and helps seniors with dementia to sleep better. There may be some slight changes to keep in mind for people with dementia when they start to exercise, however. Home care assistance can help aging adults facing cognitive illnesses as they try to embrace being more active.
Always Talk to a Doctor First
Before any senior embarks on an exercise regimen, they need to talk to their healthcare providers. Each person’s health is a different situation and involves different variables. Checking in with doctors before exercising helps seniors to know what their limitations and recommendations are. Doctors can let families know what exercise plan is safe based on factors like overall health, cognitive abilities, and physical limitations. From there, seniors can start a personalized exercise plan.
Early Stages of Dementia
In the earliest stages of dementia, seniors are a lot more independent and may be better able to participate in a variety of activities. Engaging in a wide range of different activities can be really helpful. Ideally, these would cover balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. Walking, swimming, strength training, yoga, and more could all fit into daily exercise routines. Seniors may only need light support to remain active.
Middle Stage of Dementia
As dementia progresses, seniors start to experience greater challenges both physically and cognitively. It’s still very important for dementia patients in the middle stages to remain physically active because of the benefits exercise offers. Seniors help to maintain muscle tone and build on the physical wellness that they gained through previous exercise. This might be the time to embrace activities like chair exercises or modified yoga poses. Aging adults with dementia may need more support from elder care providers to remember to exercise and to be safe while doing so.
Later Stages of Dementia
In the later stages of dementia, seniors need to focus more on maintaining mobility, maintaining muscle strength, and staying as comfortable as possible. Simple, gentle exercise is really important. Gentle range-of-motion exercises can help with joint flexibility and overall mobility. More chair-based activities or even exercises done while lying down in bed might be a good idea. Exercises should be personalized for the specific needs and limitations of the person with dementia. Continuing to check in with medical providers about the exercises can help seniors to stay on target with exercising just enough for their needs.
Exercise is always an important part of any senior’s care plan. It becomes even more important for aging adults who have dementia, however. Keeping in mind the individual’s needs helps families to ensure that seniors are getting the types and amounts of exercise they need for good health. Home care assistance can help family caregivers to ensure that they’re taking stock of movement plans and modifying them when it becomes necessary to do so.