It is getting more and more difficult for me to get my mother to exercise. Recently one of her best friends, now 79, received a scare when her good friend told her she was starting to get forgetful. She asked me what I thought she should be doing to help protect herself against dementia and Alzheimer’s. My answer to this is question is always the same–Rule #1 Exercise.
Our friend decided on the spot to take my advice and join Gold’s gym. She did so immediately. We decided to attend the Silver Sneakers exercise class the next morning. I had trouble getting my mother to go to the gym class so I asked our friend to come over and help me convince her. It worked, thank goodness.
On the way to the gym the best way I can describe my mother is zombie like. She could barely walk, kept telling me she was going to faint, and said she was sick. I could barely get her out of the car. When we walked out of the gym my mother was standing straight, had a smile on her face, and was communicating. It is rather hard for me to describe this unless you see it for yourself. This happens every time. Exercise works for my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s and the benefits are obvious. Our friend upon seeing this in person for the first time decided she will attend the class at least three times per week.
The experience reminded me of an article I read a while back that discussed the positive effect that exercise had on nursing home residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
“Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease who participate in a moderate exercise program have a significantly slower deterioration than those who receive routine medical care, researchers have shown.”
Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease who participate in a moderate exercise program have a significantly slower deterioration than those who receive routine medical care, researchers have shown.
Dr. Yves Rolland, of Hospital La Grave-Casselardit in Toulouse, France, and colleagues examined the effects of a program of exercise for one hour twice weekly on activities of daily living, physical performance, nutritional status, behavioral disturbance and depression among 134 Alzheimer’s disease patients in nursing homes.
The patients were 83 years old on average. They were assigned to the exercise program, which focused on walking, strength, balance and flexibility training, or to routine medical care for 12 months.
As reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 110 participants completed the study. Among the 56 subjects in the exercise group who completed the study, the rate of adherence to the program was about 33 percent on average.
At the end of the 12 months, the average activities-of-daily-living score was significantly more improved in the exercise group than in the routine medical care group, Rolland’s team reports.
In addition, average walking speed improved significantly more in the exercise group than in the routine medical care group at 6 months and 12 months.
However, the exercise program had no apparent effect on behavioral disturbance, depression or nutritional assessment scores.
SOURCE: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, February 2007.
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