Staying active can improve mobility for seniors who are living with dementia

Kevin Magna

June 17, 2011

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and approximately 5.3 million Americans were living with the disease in 2010, according to a recent survey that was conducted by the Alzheimer's Association.

Dementia can cause memory loss, confusion and difficulty with spatial awareness, which could increase one's risk of falling. People who have been diagnosed with the disease and live independently can consider personal emergency response systems as a safety precaution in case they fall or injure themselves while they are alone.

Researchers at the UDong-Eui University in Busan, South Korea, conducted a study in 2008 that examined the effects of exercise in women who had been diagnosed with senile dementia. They recorded participants' daily mental and physical abilities before and after the women completed an exercise program.

The patients, who were all at least 80 years of age, were asked to exercise for about half an hour, two to three days each week for a year. At the end of the year, women who exercised regularly were more capable of physical activities, such as bathing and getting dressed than those in the control group. Regular exercise may reduce the risk of falling, but accidents can still happen, and medical alert systems can give seniors peace of mind.

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