People tell us what they thought of our Feel Good Folder, designed to help people with dementia who want to be more active.
Alzheimer’s Society’s Feel Good Folder aims to help people with dementia increase their levels of physical activity and motivation by forming new habits and a positive mindset.
Co-created with people who have dementia and funded by Sport England, the Feel Good Folder can be used independently or with the support of a carer or relative.
It consists of an A5 booklet with health information and inspiration and includes a weekly Do It Diary to set personal goals and track progress over time.
An activity wallchart provides a way to track progress, while Movement Deck cards offer exercise ideas, inspirational quotes and facts about the benefits of keeping active.
Many people affected by dementia shared their thoughts after trying the Feel Good Folder, including Pete Middleton, who lives with Alzheimer’s disease.
He says, ‘I love the Movement Deck cards. I’ll shuffle them up and pick a few at random, and that’ll be my exercise for the morning.’
Of our testers, 70% thought the folder was valuable in helping to improve physical activity.
Over half said their levels of physical activity had increased as well as their motivation to be active.
Eight out of 10 said they’d recommend it to others.
Tricia Bower cares for her mum who has dementia.
‘My need for this is to get Mum moving,’ she says. ‘Because of her age and her heart and bad knees, she doesn’t move much.
That’s what’s good about these exercises – it’s something she can do and she’s moving.
One carer says, ‘It’s really well laid out and accessible.
‘It would be good in app form as well as being a paper product. For example, when Anne went away, I didn’t want her to take the folder in case it was lost.’
Raymond, who lives with dementia, says, ‘I used the diary to track how much I do and the range of activity I do.
‘I was surprised how much walking and activity I do.
It has made me think about other aspects of my wellbeing that impact my health and how I feel. As a result, I have increased my sleep levels.
A man who supports his wife, who has dementia, says the Feel Good Folder has helped them to set good intentions around exercise.
‘I feel it’s important for her to keep up her physical activity, which is why I wanted to try out the Feel Good Folder,’ he says.
‘I’ve used the folder as a conversation piece and a visual aid to talk more about what physical activity she and I can do.
Jeanne and I have agreed to try seated yoga and pilates. I will start off going with her to help make this a habit.
‘It’s been difficult to fully implement the folder for Jeanne because she is in denial about having Alzheimer’s disease, and she also forgets our conversations where we agree to do things and to make an effort.
‘However, we have these plans and I hope that by going to these classes and doing the walks they will become habits and she will recognise the benefits.’
Catherine cares for her mother, who has dementia, and found the Do It Diary helpful.
The information at the start and the diary pages have been the most useful.
‘We haven’t really used the chart or cards but it’s nice to know they are there if we need them.
‘My mother does three walks a week for an hour from her house to the park and back.
I can see a noticeable difference because when we walk the dog at the weekend, she doesn’t complain about her legs aching as they were before.
Tricia says, ‘The exercises are easy to do. They make you feel like you have done something while sitting down.’
Another person who used the Feel Good Folder says, ‘I use the movement cards when I realise I’ve been sat for a while knitting. This is good because it stops my legs from getting stiff.’
The wallchart and movement cards provide helpful alternatives for different situations.
Heather Goode, living with dementia, says, ‘The wallchart is very useful to put on the fridge.
Every time I go in the kitchen, I do an exercise. If I haven’t much time, I use the cards.
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