Monday, May 6, 2013

Dementia and Physical Activity

“Put your back into it.”  “Use a little elbow grease!”  These are sayings I can remember my Daddy spouting when my sisters and I were growing up.  Daddy really should have had a strapping son amongst his children, but he was “blessed” with three girls.  Not a tomboy among us, either.  It was not unusual for Daddy to instruct  us to lift heavy objects or learn to change the oil in the car. 
I did not enjoy these lessons.  To this day, I don’t have a clue how to change the oil in the car.  Furthermore, I don’t want to know.  I am very much involved, though, in many activities that provide physical movement.
If your loved one with dementia is not involved in physical movement each day, then let’s make a change today.  The individual with Alzheimer’s type dementia is burning calories faster than someone without dementia.  Therefore, they are more likely to be cold.  My mother will hop in the bed, pull the covers over her head and snuggle quicker than jack can jump over the candlestick (whatever the heck that means!).  Instead, I try to get her to go for a walk.  This process of walking helps warm her up more quickly, plus it is so good for her muscles, her heart, her emotions, and her cognitive abilities.
Go for a walk with your loved one.  Ask them to help pull weeds.  Can they dig holes for the new spring plantings?  Spray on the sunscreen and get outside.  The exercise will do them good, and your flower garden just might need the attention.
Hope that gives you Something To Ponder.

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