Physical Therapy Strategies for Alzheimer’s Patients

July 17, 2019 | BY PHS Staff

Exercise classes can be a great way to help seniors stay connected and healthy.

Alzheimer’s exacts a heavy toll on those who suffer from the disease. And it can be extremely stressful for the loved ones who care for them. Employing some physical therapy strategies that focus on daily living and exercise can be a great way to help ease the stress for everyone involved.

Here are a couple effective rehabilitation and physical therapy strategies that are often recommended to help reduce stress and improve the lives of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

Support for Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

The ability to carry out routine activities is something we take for granted. But those same tasks are quickly compromised by Alzheimer’s, and thus compromise one’s sense of independence.

Physical therapy is an important component to addressing and preventing this loss. For those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, physical therapy will often focus on Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs. It is important to prepare your home in ways that support ADLs, as that will provide a greater sense of freedom for your loved one.

How are things arranged in your loved one’s home and living quarters? Does the current layout and availability of common items support ease-of-access for items needed during routine activities?

If not, you should rethink the layout of everything and develop a plan that supports their ability to perform daily functions in the simplest and most convenient manner.

Here’s a quick list of important ADLs that you should consider for your loved one:

  • Bathing
  • Cleaning
  • Communicating
  • Dressing
  • Food Preparation
  • Sleeping
  • Toileting
  • Transportation

Step through some of these daily activities with your loved one and determine if there are better ways to optimize their living arrangements to support each routine  The goal is to help your loved one to maintain his/her independence and function for as long as possible. A physical therapist who specializes in treating Alzheimer patients provides activities that will help strengthen their ability to continue doing routine activities. This may include additional suggestions for modifications around the home to support ADLs.

Your own home can be the best place to receive critically important therapies for those living with Alzheimer’s disease, like physical therapy and rehabilitation services. And our elderly home care services can help by supporting clients to continue living comfortably in their own home and receive those critical therapies in their own environment.

Physical Therapies and Exercises

Studies often link exercise to improving mood for individuals in general. But a recent study featured in ScienceDaily explains how exercise is directly linked to helping seniors by stimulating mood-boosters which are generated by activity in the muscles.

The study references earlier research that linked genes within skeletal muscle to the release of mood-enhancing chemicals, such as serotonin, when we exercise. This more recent study demonstrates that 3 months of regular exercise can enhance those particular genes in men 65 or older.

Unfortunately, for many suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease its ‘difficult to organize the day that supports daily exercise.

That is why a companion care provider can be so important. Companion care providers can help support daily living in ways that will better accommodate exercise as part of the fundamental routine for your loved one.

If you or your loved one is committed to exercise and you have a daily routine that supports that commitment, you’ll need some ideas for daily exercises that will keep you on a healthy path.

So, here are a few ideas for exercise that might add a bit of fun to the day.

Dance, Dance, Dance! – listening to music is a great way to improve your mood, and dancing is a great way to combine the innate benefits of music with the physical  advantages of exercise.

Take an Exercise Class – working out is great, but doing anything in a group setting helps to support a sense of community and connection. So maybe your loved one should finally take up that spin class they’ve been talking about?!

Taking Walks – the act of revisiting familiar routes is a great way to keep the mind sharp and the blood flowing. But remember to keep it local and bring a partner, a family member or a home care companion.

Watching a loved one suffer from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is saddening. But there is hope – and you don’t have to sit and watch the decline of your loved one’s health. You can have a direct and positive influence by employing strategies to help them navigate daily living and support regular exercise. Both of these techniques will help ease the burden and challenges from Alzheimer’s disease.

To learn more about how our elderly home care services can help your loved one, give us a call to schedule a consultation at: (866) 943-9731.