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December 17, 2018

4 Reasons Physical Activity is Important for People with Dementia

When an older family member is diagnosed with dementia, it’s easy to focus on their cognitive health and forget about their physical health. After all, your chief focus may be on how to manage memory loss and what will happen when they cannot remember how to perform routine tasks like dressing and eating.

However, just like everyone else, people with dementia can develop other health problems. One way to stave off failing health is through exercise. Of course, we all know that exercise is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy weight, keeping muscles strong, and preventing a whole host of disease, including heart disease. However, for people with dementia, there are added benefits to exercising regularly.

Here are just 4 reasons to make sure your aging relative with dementia remains physically active.

#1: Exercise Can Help Prevent Depression

Up to 23 percent of people with dementia also suffer from depression. Being depressed can worsen cognitive symptoms, not to mention how it impacts the person’s quality of life. Exercising causes the body to release endorphins, which can make the senior feel happier. Plus, when you make exercise a group activity, such as by attending an exercise class, it also gives the older adult a chance to socialize with others.

#2: Exercise Allows Dementia Patients to Continue Doing Daily Activities Longer

The progression of dementia eventually makes it impossible to do daily activities of living, such as dressing. Because exercise keeps muscles strong and improve mobility and balance, it may be possible for your aging relative to hang on to some of those abilities for longer.

#3: Exercise Helps Dementia Patients to Sleep Better

When older adults spend too much time sitting around during the day or napping, they may not be able to sleep at night. This can lead to restlessness and waking through the night. Exercise can help maintain a regular sleep cycle and prevent sleep problems. And, of course, if your family member is able to sleep at night, it means you can sleep better, too!

#4: Exercise Can Reduce Unwanted Behaviors

One of the more challenging aspects of dementia are some of the behavioral changes it can cause, like wandering and agitation. Exercise uses up some of the excess energy that may cause people with dementia to wander or act out.

Home care services can help your aging relative with dementia to be more physically active during the day. If they enjoy group fitness classes, a home care services provider can drive them to the class. Home care services can also keep them more active at home. They can take walks with the senior, making sure they don’t fall or get lost. Home care services providers can also involve seniors with dementia in regular tasks around the house that require them to move around, such as folding laundry, dusting, or taking care of pets.

Sources:  https://www.verywellhealth.com/exercise-benefits-for-alzheimers-98666

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/daily-living/exercise/benefits

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Aurora IL, please contact the caring staff at Big Hearts Home Care today! 

Matthew Calcagno

Matthew is a graduate of Robert Morris College and is a U.S. Navy veteran.Matthew founded Big Hearts Home Care after over a decade at HP. Spending time volunteering at his grandparent’s senior center inspired him to make a bigger difference in the quality of care seniors receive.His grandfather whom turned 100 in 2015 is still a major inspiration to him in seeing that service is provided with a family focused touch.

It is his passion and commitment to providing quality service that has awarded Big Hearts Home Care as Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in the Chicagoland area. He believes that being an independently owned and operated company allows him the flexibility to manage the business in a way that better serves the clients.

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"Helping people is what I was meant to do; it inspires and motivates me," Calcagno said. "I also get to help veterans - assisting them in the VA pension process and providing care for several in the area. This is what I love to do."

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