Physical activity is important for people with dementia. When adjusted for their ability level, even the simplest activities can improve their overall well- being. Encouraging exercise is sometimes challenging—especially if they didn't exercise in the past. How it is presented to them can greatly impact their level of participation. The goal is to encourage movement in a way that is engaging and fun, something that is they look forward to and not dread. There are plenty of exercise ideas for people with dementia, ranging from simple to more complex.
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Simple Physical Activity
There's no need to invest in a gym membership or workout clothes. For people with dementia, simple is best as they often have trouble remembering sequences or patterns. Here are a few ideas to get you and your loved one started:
Walking — This one is a favorite because it is free and the possibilities are endless. If it's a nice day, help your loved one with a walk outdoors. The fresh air will do you both wonders and your loved one will enjoy the birds, flowers, and seeing other people. On rainy days, consider a walk at the mall or inside a library.
Strengthen Important Muscles — A sit-to-stand exercise helps strengthen core muscles important for use with every day tasks.
Work on Balance — Maintaining proper balance is important to preventing falls. Exercises such as standing in a balanced position or while at a sink washing dishes are sometimes helpful. Be sure to stay close to your loved one and to assist if needed.
Stretching Exercises — For many people with dementia, muscles can become tight when not used. Limited physical activity can make even getting out of bed difficult. Encourage your loved one to stretch while lying in bed by extending their arms and legs. Allow them to do so independently if they are able or assist them if they need help.
Develop Good Posture — Your loved one may have reminded you to "sit up straight" and now it is your turn to do the same. Good posture is important throughout our lives. Have your loved one sit up straight in a chair, either with assistance or without. This helps to strengthen abdominal and back muscles.
More Moderate and Advance Exercises
Gardening — Digging in the dirt might be just what your loved one needs to become active. Pulling weeds and planting flowers works a variety of muscles. Measure their ability to the specific gardening tasks and plan accordingly.
Household Chores — Activities such as dusting and vacuuming not only gets your loved one moving, it can help them feel useful. Just be sure to watch for dangerous chords or other items that may cause them to fall.
Dance Party — Dancing is a fun way to get dementia patients moving. Play music from their era and join in the fun. Dancing is one of the surest ways to exercise without viewing it as work!
No matter what level of exercise your loved one is able to perform, getting them started is key. Use encouraging words and exercise with them. Always use caution and discuss the best types of exercise for your loved one with their physician.
About Sarasota Bay Club
When it comes to exercise, our residents have a variety of options for staying active. From our onsite gym to classes and group activities, there's always something to choose from. The same is true for our dementia patients who receive care from some of the best professionals in the state. If you are searching for a luxury Florida location for your loved one, visit us to learn more.
Contact us online to schedule a personal tour today. You'll quickly see how our residents thrive among the many offerings and quality care of the Sarasota Bay Club. We look forward to meeting you and your loved one soon!