Daily Activities Can Help Stave Off Alzheimer's and Dementia

Exercise for seniors is a good idea. It promotes healthy aging, improves health and increases longevity. Now a recent study published in the journal Neurology, shows that exercise can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, even in those over 80 years old.

We’re not talking about lifting weights or running for miles. Simple daily chores such as cooking, cleaning, washing dishes — even moving around more, showed that active seniors are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than their less active counterparts.

According to Dr. Aron S. Buchman, lead author of the study and associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush, “These results provide support for efforts to encourage all types of physical activity even in very old adults who might not be able to participate in formal exercise, but can still benefit from a more active lifestyle.”

Doctors at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center monitored the daily activity of 716 people without dementia by use of a device called an actigraph, on their nondominant wrist for 10 days. All activity was recorded and subjects were given annual cognitive tests for the next 3.5 years.

Results showed that those test subjects in the bottom 10 percent of daily physical activity were more than twice as likely (2.3 times) to develop Alzheimer’s disease as people in the top 10 percent of daily activity.

So much of the fear associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia comes from the feeling that one has no control over the disease. This study gives the hope that there is something we can do to prevent the onset of those devastating conditions. My 82-year-old mother still washes her kitchen floor every other day, sometimes on her hands and knees. She refuses my help, insisting that it’s her activity that has kept “Old Timer’s disease” at bay. It looks like once again, mom may be right.

The Study on Frailty in Aging (SOFIA) is a sub-study of the ongoing Rush Memory and Aging Project. Rush is still actively recruiting participants for the SOFIA study. Those interested in becoming part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project and SOFIA can contact study coordinator Tracey Nowakowski at (312) 942-2214. Participants must be 65 years of age or older with no previous diagnosis of dementia.

If you are already caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, Caregiverlist has partnered with the leading producer of training videos for the caregiving industry, Terra Nova Films, to assist our caregiving community with understanding how to care for the physical, emotional and psychosocial needs of older adults.

, , , , ,

Loading

Log in