Exercising the brain helps those living with dementia

It’s well documented that exercising your brain can help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, but it can also help once a diagnosis has been made.

Researchers have looked into whether exercising the brain can improve the thinking capacity of people with dementia or slow the rate of cognitive decline, and how exercising the brain can contribute to a better quality of life for people living with dementia and their families and carers.

According to Alzheimer’s Australia, people living with dementia should be encouraged, as far as possible, to maintain their usual hobbies and activities. While adjustments may be needed as dementia progresses, keeping socially involved and mentally active may be important for the person’s cognition, daily functioning and mental well-being.

People in the early stages of dementia may choose from a range of brain exercises.

People in the later stages of dementia may enjoy simpler exercises that relate to their own interests and capabilities. Such exercises could include:

  • Doing simple calculations
  • Reading aloud from books
  • Storytelling, including brief stories and role playing in longer stories, to help increase attention and participation and to stimulate emotions and memories
  • Imagery exercises to stimulate the senses, such as recalling a peaceful nature scene
  • Dancing
  • Playing musical instruments
  • Listening to music
  • Board games
  • Crosswords
  • Sudoku and other puzzles
  • Bingo

Authors of a study in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia reported that playing Bingo provides mental stimulation that is highly therapeutic for people with cognitive disorders.

Individuals participating in the study who played Bingo performed significantly better on measures of cognition than participants who did not play. Researchers also reported increases in alertness and awareness in the test subjects, and this effect lasted for hours after testing was complete.

Bingo is an ideal game for people with dementia. It is enjoyed all over the world by people of all ages. It is easy to understand and play, so it is a game that can be played throughout many stages of dementia. It requires that the person distinguish and match colors and shapes, so it is beneficial at a cognitive level.

To read more from Alzheimers Australia on mental stimulation for people living with dementia and their carers, click here

Are you seeking more information on dementia?

Did you know that people with dementia are twice as likely to be lonely as the rest of the population? Click here to find out more. 

Top tips on communicating effectively with a person with dementia 

What are the 10 early signs of dementia? 

Four things you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease 

The loneliness of dementia 

About Oxley Home Care

Oxley Home Care, established in 2006, is a family-owned Sydney company and is an Approved Government Provider for in-home aged care services, specialising in Dementia Care.

Oxley Home Care is an Approved Provider of Home Care Packages funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and holds an allocation of Home Care Packages. These packages are designed to provide assistance to the elderly, to remain living independently at home.

To gain access to a Home Care Package, the government requires that you undergo a comprehensive assessment by your local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). To arrange the assessment, contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or visit the My Aged Care web site.

For more information, call Oxley Home Care on 1800 221 039.

 

Gilian Douglass

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