As long as your senior’s doctor has cleared her to exercise on a regular basis, it’s a really good idea to try to get your elderly family member to move a little more every day. This is especially important if she has dementia. There are a lot of little reasons that exercise adds up to one really important daily activity for your senior.
Exercise Is Tied to Keeping Her Independent
Exercise keeps your senior moving, which means that she’s still using her muscles and still balancing. All of that is important in and of itself. But it also contributes to helping her to remain independent. Even when she doesn’t understand why it’s important for her to be able to stand up on her own and go to the kitchen, she will feel the frustration if she can’t do that.
Exercise Can Reduce Agitation
Many people with dementia experience agitation and anxiety. This may or may not have a specific cause. What helps, for most people, is to have some way to burn off a little bit of that agitation. Exercise can do the trick in that department. People with dementia who exercise or at least move a little more during the day are less likely to wander, for instance, especially if that wandering is tied to anxiety.
Exercise Helps with Sleep and Relaxation
If your senior is having trouble sleeping or trouble just being, exercise can help significantly with that problem. The act of moving her body helps to release endorphins, works those muscles, and allows your elderly family member to be able to just unwind when she’s ready to at night.
It Also Has Solid Physical Benefits
When your elderly family member exercises regularly, her circulation is a lot better and she’s able to retain muscle mass. Older adults tend to lose muscle tone very quickly and even light exercise can slow that down a bit. Your senior may also experience fewer instances of muscle stiffness or muscle cramping, which can be difficult to manage when she’s experiencing cognitive issues, too.
Exercise for your senior might look far different than it has in the past. Instead of taking long walks, she might instead be doing chair exercises or leaning on you or home care providers for support. What’s most important is that she’s still doing what she can to keep moving, even if she doesn’t fully understand what she’s doing or why.