Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s often means managing challenging behaviours such as agitation. Today, it is understood that exercise plays a valuable role in a senior’s mental wellbeing in addition to offering physical health benefits.
Agitation is not the only behaviour common in ageing adults with Alzheimer’s disease, and exercise is not the only solution to this behaviour. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality at-home care. North Coast families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
If you’re caring for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, here are four ways exercise can help soothe his or her agitation.
1. Releases Mood-Boosting Endorphins
Many people have heard of the runner’s high that is generated when a person runs long distances. To enjoy this mindset, a senior does not necessarily have to run because other exercises can cause the body to release endorphins that create a sense of wellbeing. In fact, your loved one may benefit from a mild workout routine that prevents pain and soreness afterward. Walking or slowly riding a stationary bicycle generates the same effects for your loved one’s mood as running while being low-impact and safer.
2. Expends Excess Energy
Some seniors with Alzheimer’s who do not get enough exercise during the day may become aggressive, especially during the evenings when they begin to exhibit the agitation known as sundowning. While no one knows for sure why sundowning occurs, it is understood that releasing energy throughout the day helps seniors remain calmer in the evenings. Soothing exercises such as swimming or performing yoga poses can help your loved one release energy without overtiring.
3. Reduces Frustration by Preserving Abilities
Agitation also occurs when seniors get frustrated trying to perform tasks that have become difficult due to ageing. Exercising fine and gross motor muscles helps reduce pain and stiffness associated with other health conditions such as arthritis. Strengthening these muscle groups also helps seniors maintain their abilities as much as possible, so the feeling that comes with losing their independence does not agitate them. Try helping your loved one do hand strengthening exercises if he or she gets agitated during fine motor tasks such as cutting food, or you can guide him or her through stretches that increase flexibility and relieve joint pain.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging. Families who find it difficult to care for their ageing loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. North Coast, NSW, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
4. Promotes Better Sleep
People of all ages are prone to feeling cranky when they do not get enough sleep, and Alzheimer’s disease sometimes causes seniors to not feel rested after waking up in the morning. Promoting good sleep habits is important, and exercise is one way to make sure your loved one is tired enough to go to bed at the normal time. It is important to avoid exercising too close to bedtime because the increased blood flow and endorphins can keep your loved one awake. For the best results, encourage your loved one to exercise early in the day and stop heavy activity one to two hours before bedtime.
Every senior living with Alzheimer’s deserves high-quality Alzheimer’s care. North Coast, NSW, families can rely on the caregivers at Home Care Assistance to keep their loved ones safe while managing the symptoms of the disease. Using our Cognitive Therapeutics Method, our caregivers help seniors regain a sense of pride and accomplishment while slowing the rate of cognitive decline. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at 1300 LIVE-IN or (02) 6646 3527 to learn about our patent approach to Alzheimer’s care or to hire a dedicated caregiver for your senior loved one.