Hope Through Exercise for Those Living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s
Once Dementia or Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, we know at Tandem Strength & Balance that families seek someone or something to accomplish four things for their loved ones: to help them get better, to keep them mobile, safe and free from falling. It seems physical therapy would be helpful but yet, not enough. Take a deep breath, and trust us when we say you have stumbled upon a proven solution…a solution beyond typical physical therapy. At Tandem Strength & Balance, we have 20+ year of experience and know that individuals with dementia can get better; it simply takes time.
You probably witnessed that your loved one was getting better while participating in Medicare Physical Therapy but THEN the day came when therapy was discontinued because your loved one wasn’t improving on a consistent basis. But what you initially witnessed was true! Effective strength training is truly miracle-producing for all ages and all types of diagnoses. It helps prevent muscle weakness, mobility problems and other health complications associated with inactivity. It can help promote a normal day-night routine, improve mood and increase social participation. Resistance exercise also plays a part in reducing stress and depression, which are commonly experienced by people with dementia. A customized strength-training program can be beneficial for anyone with dementia. But why haven’t you heard this before now?
There are many misconceptions around what individuals with dementia can and can’t do! Often these misconceptions are communicated by the well-meaning medical community. Many families are told that those living with dementia can’t follow directions or learn new tasks, that therapy is not beneficial and that the best thing to do is get the individual to use a walker or wheelchair to prevent falling. But the reality is that inactivity simply makes all of the symptoms mentioned in the preceding paragraph that much worse.
At Tandem Strength & Balance, we celebrate our clients’ successes and witness Individuals with dementia getting better by putting the following proven guidelines into practice:
- Dementia patients can exercise effectively as long as they can follow one-step directions. It just takes patience and time.
- Repeated exercises can help a patient form new habits, so they don’t have to relearn the process time and again.
- When it comes to dementia, the body remembers when the mind can’t.
- Those diagnosed with dementia often can’t remember to use their walker; therefore, they fall and become wheelchair-bound. And the reality is, the constant use of a walker accelerates muscle weakness. It’s much safer to build and maintain adequate leg strength.
- Individuals diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s do enjoy a better quality of life when undertaking an effective strength-training program.
Families with loved ones diagnosed with dementia simply don’t have the ability, support or knowledge needed to start an exercise program. Our private pay, in-home physical therapists are skilled in customizing strength-training exercises and effectively engaging our dementia clients in the comfort of their own homes. Families have found by making a commitment to ongoing strength-building exercise their loved ones can continue to live safely and, in their homes, longer.