Helping Seniors Living with Alzheimers Stay Active During COVID-19

Posted on

May 18, 2021

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If you are caring for someone with Alzheimers disease or dementia, its important to help your loved one stay active and engaged. Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, and when people battling dementia are isolated and alone, their risk of depression, anxiety, agitation, and anger increases. Caring for someone with Alzheimers while staying socially distant during a pandemic is challenging, but you can find ways to keep your loved one active, engaged, healthy, and safe.

Fortunately, Alzheimers disease does not seem to increase a persons risk of contracting COVID-19. On the other hand, advanced age can increase risk due to underlying medical conditions, as do some dementia-related behaviors, like forgetting to wash hands. Its especially important to make sure your loved one is maintaining good practices like handwashing and social distancing. There are many activities, however, that dont break any COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Move the body.Taking a walk outside offers major health benefits. If thats not possible, there are plenty of other options for exercise for seniors. If mobility is the issue, you can look for walkers for seniors to make a short stroll possible. If the weather doesnt lend itself to outdoor activity, chair exercises for seniors may be a better fit. Exercise videos for seniors with dementia may be useful. Of course, always check with your loved ones physician to ensure the exercises or equipment you choose are safe and appropriate for their abilities and health conditions.
Engage the mind.Many activities for seniors exercise the mind, whether through creativity or problem solving. Arts and crafts, games, and puzzles are all great ways to keep your loved one engaged at home, without outside interaction. Seniors are often comfortable doing small chores, and that can make them feel useful as well as keep them active.
Delight the senses.Watch a movie or read together, go for a drive, or watch whats happening out the window. Listen to music, sing, and dance! Find ways to stimulate the other senses, through delicious foods, aromatherapy, or tactile activities.
Find joy in the past and the present.Reminisce together by creating a memory scrapbook or looking at memorabilia. Laugh together while watching comedies or playing with a pet. Reflect on happy memories and treasure the memories youre making today.
Embrace technology.Smartphones, laptops, and tablets offer ways for seniors with dementia to communicate with others and entertain themselves. There are apps designed for people with Alzheimers, to engage them creatively or get them moving. Many online programs feature activities and games, and even use speech recognition and offer large buttons and fonts for its games and quizzes. Motion-based gaming systems are good for fun, active, online group activities.

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Why Flexibility is Important for Seniors

As we age, we often naturally tend to slow down. Sometimes, seniors develop aches and pains that also lead to changes in their movement and ability. One way to try to keep up their movement and independence is to keep their body, and what propels it, flexible.Tips for Improving or Maintaining FlexibilityWith flexibility, the body can move freer, go farther and feel less pain. Flexibility can help with strength, balance and overall well-being. It also can help reduce pain and injuries. Maintaining flexibility is one of the keys to helping seniors live independent lives.Stretch ItOne key to keeping the body flexible is stretching. Many studies have shown that stretching the body helps improve flexibility. There are many ways to start a stretching routine. You can even begin by stretching in bed before you get up in the morning. Stretching cold muscles, however, can cause injury, so make sure to warm them up a little before beginning any routine. If youre looking for some guidance on your stretching journey, join a yoga class geared specifically toward beginners or senior citizens. For some extra fun while stretching, head down to the beach for your yoga, where many classes are offered weekly and often are free.If youd rather stretch at home, there are many things you can do right from the comfort of your living room or even on the lanai, including these basic stretches with descriptions and visuals from the Mayo Clinic.Just Get Up and GoWhile it might seem simple, simply moving is one of the best ways to maintain flexibility. Using those joints and muscles each day keeps them in tip-top shape. If people tend to sit too much or lie down, they can lose their flexibility and strength, which in turn can lead to a lack of independence and relying on others for more help. So get out there and do what you love or what you enjoy, as long as it involves some kind of movement. Even simply increasing the amount you walk each day can improve your flexibility. Add 100 steps each day to your routines. Park a little further out when heading to the beach. Walk to the pool instead of driving. Each of these steps can help increase the amount you walk and increase flexibility and overall strength. If biking is more your thing, hop on and go. You also can increase flexibility in the water. Swimming, or even just walking back and forth in the water, can be easier on the joints, while still providing needed exercise. Remember, Its Not Gone ForeverThere is some good news out there. Perhaps youve let things slide a bit or gotten lazy. You can feel that your flexibility isnt what it used to be. You might feel stiffness or pain when you move. Perhaps bending down to put your socks on is getting harder and harder. Many studies show that working on your flexibility now, even after the age of 65, can help you regain some of your flexibility.You can start as simple as you like. You can even march in place to begin. Or maybe you want to hang onto the stairway banister and do some leg lifts. Even standing on one foot and working your way up to 30 seconds per foot can help with flexibility. The more you do, the more flexible you will become. If youve never considered yourself super flexible but commit to a routine now, you may even be more nimble than you ever thought possible. Just keep increasing what you are doing each day, and in turn, you can increase your flexibility and overall health and well-being.We Can HelpWhether your senior loved ones want someone with them as they stretch every day and work on their health or they simply need a companion, Visiting Angels Sarasota has the right caregivers to help. Our referral network of caregivers can provide many services to help your senior with everything from getting ready in the morning to bathing before bed. The caregivers also can help you focus on what is important in life while helping to take care of everyday tasks for your senior and your family.Visiting Angels Sarasota helps local seniors in Sarasota, Siesta Key, St. Armands Key and the surrounding areas to age in place while having full, independent, safe and dignified lives. For information on using an in-home caregiver, call us at (941) 952-5800 or contact us online by.

The #1 Exercise to Do as You Get Older

Often the hardest part of doing something new is getting started, and that's especially true about exercise. This article from AARP makes it easy to get started with the most important exercise to help you age healthy: squats. Five or ten squats are easy to do while you wait for the coffee to brew or the microwave to finish heating.Even when we're healthy we sometimes need a little extra help with the house or errands. Visit our website at to learn more about how Rose Hill Stay-at-Home Services can help you or a loved one stay in independent and at home.

Resistance and Strength Training for Adults Over 55

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