Exercises for Dementia: What You Can Do to Help
When someone you love suffers from dementia, providing them with care and support can be a challenge. One of the things you may be keen to know more about is the types of exercises – both mental and physical – that could help them in their daily lives. Here is a guide to some of the exercises you may want to try out.
Singing can be the ideal activity for dementia sufferers, and it can really help to improve their quality of life. Some people with dementia respond well to singing, and they may be able to remember songs even when they cannot remember anything else.
Singing for the Brain is a service provided all over the UK by the Alzheimer’s Society. It brings people together in a social activity, and it includes clapping, percussion and exercises.
Even if you do not join a group, you may want to help your elderly relative to sing at home. Consider buying a few CDs of their favourite music and sing along
These activities can be especially good if a sufferer has become withdrawn. There are so many activities to choose from that often you will have to experiment to find one or a few that work best.
You may want to try baking, playing with tactile objects, creating a memory box or visiting somewhere from their past. Gardening is a particularly good option. Plants, flowers, water features and wildlife can provide a stimulating environment, so consider doing some gardening together. Alternatively, you may want to visit a nearby garden to simply enjoy the natural surroundings.
Puzzles are ideal for keeping the mind active and improving thinking skills. You may want to buy some board games or help the your loved one with simple crosswords. Other exercises could include learning a new language or a musical instrument, playing cards with friends, learning new games or even playing video games.
Physical activities can have a huge impact at any stage of dementia. Anything that increases the heart rate is good, which will improve heart health and help to reduce high blood pressure. Physical fitness can help to improve muscle strength and increase flexibility in joints, giving them more independence as they go about their daily activities. It may also help to improve their memory or at least slow down their decline.
Exercises can include walking, dancing, swimming and bowling, but anything that they find interesting can have benefits. Make sure you start off slow, and ensure they have correct supervision.
Sitting Down Exercises
There are plenty of exercises dementia sufferers can do even while sitting down. You may want to go to a group to learn these, which will provide a social element, or you could just do them at home. They include things like lifting the arms up, raising the toes, bending the legs, clapping under the legs and making circular motions with the arms. They are not as strenuous as other physical activities, but they are more convenient because you can do them anywhere.
Encourage an Active Social Life
Dementia sufferers should have an active social life to keep them happy and motivated. You could encourage them to join a club where they do group activities and go for walks and outings. Specialist groups like Dementia Adventure can be ideal, and these will arrange regular activities like sailing excursions and walks. Such social activities can help them to make friends, give them a sense of purpose and improve their self-esteem.
Try Out Some of these Exercises
These exercises are all options to try out if you care for someone with dementia, no matter what stage they are at. Recommend them to the person you care for and try out a selection. You may find that even doing a couple of these on a regular basis can bring numerous benefits.