Blog Post: Alzheimer’s Month: Learn more at Luther Village!

October is Alzheimer’s month. At Luther Village, we’re inviting residents, their friends and family, and staff, to take part in our Wellness Awareness Campaign to learn more about this disease.

We kicked it off with the Resident Health Committee holding their annual “Cider Break” – and they raised over $1700.00! Thank you to everyone who donated time and effort to this important initiative which impacts all of our residents at some level. Your support was really appreciated.

On Thursday October 13 AND 20, 2016 Luther Village presents The Alzheimer’s Society Education Series in the Chapel from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. These positive and encouraging presentations will provide a comfortable and supportive learning environment. We welcome and encourage residents and their family and friends, as well as staff, to attend.

Or stop by the Chapel anytime to pick up some Informative literature.

In this blog post, we provide an overview of one important part of managing Alzheimer’s disease: exercise.

Alzheimer’s and Exercise

Dementia is a general term that refers to a variety of brain disorders. It is a symptom, not a disease. There are many types of dementia, each with different causes.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in older age groups. Alzheimer's disease destroys the brain cells causing cognitive abilities to deteriorate. This includes how an individual understands, thinks, remembers, and communicates.

Each person is affected differently. It is difficult to predict symptoms, the order in which they will appear, or the speed of their progression. Common symptoms include memory decline, changes in language, confusion, frustration, anger, decreased motor skills, and trouble completing daily activities.

It is a fatal disease that eventually affects all aspects of an individual’s life including cognitive ability, physical function, emotions/mood, and behaviour can all be affected. Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. There are various forms of treatment that reduce dementia symptoms; among these treatments is regular physical activity.

Regular physical activity has been shown to improve physical function and cardiovascular fitness, as well as reduce disability in activities of daily living for those living with dementia (Moore et al., 2016). Recent research has shown that regular physical activity improves mood, memory functions, and cognitive ability (Heise et al., 2016). Researchers hypothesize that exercise helps the brain to develop protective effects against cognitive disease.

The main goal of exercise in those living with dementia is to maintain or improve physical function and mobility. A regular exercise program should include cardiovascular training, strength training, balance exercises, and range of motion. The frequency and intensity is dependent on the stage of dementia and the functional limitation of the individual. Exercises should be simple, familiar, and repetitive whenever possible. Individuals with dementia can feel lost and disoriented even in a small fitness centre so regular instruction and tactile cueing is important.

Regular exercise programs are most effective during early onset of dementia. Physical activity also plays a strong role in delaying the onset of dementia entirely.

At Luther Village, we have staff and volunteers who support and enable individuals living with dementia to participate in our various types of Village Fitness exercise programs.

Written by Victoria Fair, BSc, CSEP-CEP, Fitness Coordinator
and Dominic Rogalski, BSc Candidate, Village Fitness Volunteer

To learn more, visit the references below:
Alzheimer Society of Canada. (2016). Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer Society of Canada. Retrieved from http://www.alzheimer.ca/~/media/Files/national/Core-lit-brochures/What_is_AD_e.pdf

Alzheimer Society of Canada. (2016). Be Physically Active. Alzheimer Society of Canada. Retrieved from http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/About-dementia/Brain-health/Be-physically-active

Alzheimer Society of Canada. (2016). Dementia Numbers in Canada. Alzheimer Society of Canada. Retrieved from http://www.alzheimer.ca/~/media/Files/national/Statistics/reference_prevalence.pdf

Alzheimer Society of Canada. (2016). Follow a Healthy Diet. Alzheimer Society of Canada. Retrieved from http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/About-dementia/Brain-health/Make-healthy-food-choices

Alzheimer Society of Canada. (2016). Prevalence and Monetary Costs of Dementia in Canada. Alzheimer Society of Canada. Retrieved from http://www.alzheimer.ca/~/media/Files/national/Statistics/PrevalenceandCostsofDementia_EN.pdf

Alzheimer Society of Canada. (2016). Risk Factors. Alzheimer Society of Canada. Retrieved from http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/About-dementia/Alzheimer-s-disease/Risk-factors

Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. (2011). Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults 65 years and older. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Retrieved from http://www.csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelines_older-adults_en.pdf

Health Canada. (2016). Eating well with Canada’s food guide. Retrieved from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php

Heise, M., Müller, M., Fischer, U., & Grill, E. (2016). Quality of life in older individuals with joint contractures in geriatric care settings. Quality of Life Research, 25(9), 2269-2281. doi:http://dx.doi.org.proxy.lib.uwaterloo.ca/10.1007/s11136-016-1262-1

Kitwood, T. (1998). Toward a theory of dementia care: Ethics and interaction. Journal of Clinical Ethics, 9(1), 23-34. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.uwaterloo.ca/docview/42906596?accountid=14906

Moore, G. E., Durstine, J. L., & Painter, P. L. (2016). ACSM’s Exercise Management for Person’s With Chronic Diseases and Disabilities Fourth Edition. Windsor, ON: Human Kinetics.

Prince, M., Albanese, E., Guerchet, M., & Prina, M. (2014) Dementia and Risk Reduction: An Analysis of Protective and Modifiable Factors. Alzheimer’s Disease International. Retrieved from http://www.alz.co.uk/research/WorldAlzheimerReport2014.pdf

Smeby, L. M. (2016). Music and dementia: Decreasing anxiety and antipsychotic medication use (Order No. 10041804). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1774250892). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.uwaterloo.ca/docview/1774250892?accountid=14906