We share some ideas to help a person with dementia to remain physically active.
Finding the right kind of physical activity can help a person with dementia to feel well, improve sleep and maintain strength, flexibility and balance. Exercise may also have a positive impact on memory loss and thinking skills.
Start with the person’s needs, abilities and interests – what would they most enjoy doing? How could you tailor an activity to suit them? Heart problems and other health conditions don’t automatically mean that someone shouldn’t exert themselves, but do get medical advice first.
Group activities, such as ball games, seated exercises, tai chi and swimming, are often available at local community or sports centres. Sometimes these can be adapted to do individually or at home, though everyday activities around the house and garden may be as beneficial. Walking can be a good way for many people to enjoy some exercise, whether to the local shop, around a park or further afield.
In the later stages of dementia, gentle exercise could still provide benefits whenever it is possible. This could include changing positions, or moving sideways while sitting on the edge of the bed.