Exercise and mobility with dementia

The more mobile a person with dementia remains, the better it will be for their health, and the easier for those around them to manage.

Remaining mobile

The more mobile the person remains, the better it will be for their health, and the easier for those around them to manage. Look for ways to help the person remain mobile.

  • If the person becomes unsteady on their feet, an occupational therapist should be able to provide information on aids and equipment, such as grab rails, to help them move around.
  • If the person spends a lot of time sitting down, they will need a firm, comfortable chair that is easy for them to sit down in and get up from.
  • If the person needs support when they move around, an occupational therapist or physiotherapist can give advice on how carers can safely give them the support they need without injuring themselves.
  • There are many chair based exercises that can help someone to stay mobile, such as raising legs in isolation.

Exercise

Exercise is beneficial to everyone, whether or not they have dementia, and everyone who is capable should get some exercise. There are lots of different types of exercise that can be adapted to individual preferences and abilities. For example, there are lots of seated exercises for people who have difficulty walking. Try to find a form of exercise that will be enjoyable - ask the GP, occupational therapist or physiotherapist for suggestions.

Exercising can:

  • encourage mobility - and therefore independence - for as long as possible
  • improve circulation and help prevent stiffness and muscle wasting
  • aid relaxation, promote a sense of calm and help ensure a good night's sleep
  • reduce anxiety, stress and depression.

Further reading