Written by Active Minds on Friday the 5th of February 2016.
As dementia progresses, people living with the condition might find themselves becoming more withdrawn and less likely to want to venture from their homes. This can either be due to a lack of self confidence, increased confusion, or increased difficulty with physical activity. Not only is this detrimental to their social wellbeing, it is also extremely detrimental to their health. Maintaining an ongoing routine of even gentle physical exercise is crucial to keeping up physical strength (which will help with day-to-day tasks and general life skills), helping to improve mood, confidence, self-esteem, and even – new studies show – to slow cognitive decline and improve memory skills.
If your loved one finds it hard to get out and about, or the weather makes it impossible or hazardous for them to do so, seated physical activity sessions are a great alternative for keeping up a good exercise regime. Since each session takes place in a seated position, activities can be easily carried out in the comfort of your own home and are perfect for older people or people with increased physical difficulties who struggle with anything too strenuous.
If you’d like to try out this easy form of exercise with your loved one, here’s how.
While you might be tempted to work out your own routine, seated physical activities are very often put together by movement and health professionals so it’s best to stick to proper routines that have been designed to suit the specific needs of people living with dementia. There are a couple of ways you can do this. Firstly, lots of community centres or care homes often host seated physical activity sessions with a proper session leader. These can be very beneficial for people with dementia as they provide the opportunity to both take part in age-appropriate exercises and to socialise with others.
If you or your loved one would rather not venture out however, you can also get yourself a seated physical activity DVD. Being able to see the actions taking place can be extremely helpful for people living with dementia to understand the routines so these DVDs are great if you want to exercise at home.
Seated activities are ideal for improving mobility and strength but can be enhanced by the use of spa balls. Available in a range of designs, spa balls are created in a range of shapes and sizes to individually work on dexterity, coordination, sensory therapy, and circulation.