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It is not uncommon for someone with Alzheimer’s disease to live in a nursing home. It is also not uncommon for family members to want to care for their loved ones who have Alzheimer’s. Those struggling with this disease desire this, as well. The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada writes, “Most people with dementia want to live in their own homes for as long as possible. The reality is, however, that many will move to a long-term care home. Fifty-seven percent of seniors living in a residential care home have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and/or other dementia.” Usually, caretakers simply do not have the resources to properly care for someone who has Alzheimer’s; that’s why nursing homes are often necessary.

Does your loved one have Alzheimer’s disease? Are you doing your best to keep him or her out of a nursing home? If so, there is a drug-free treatment you should know about: exercise via physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy/Exercise May Keep Alzheimer’s Patients Out of Nursing Homes

A 2013 study conducted in Finland revealed that exercise led by a physiotherapist can be quite effective at keeping Alzheimer’s patients out of nursing homes. US News’ article Exercise May Help Alzheimer’s Patients Avoid Nursing Homes reported on the study and states, “Regular exercise slows disability and prevents falls in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.” Dr. Kostos Lyketsos, director of the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center, says, “This is an important study. If we could ever deliver exercise for people with dementia in their homes, I think we could accomplish very substantial benefits for patients and reduce costs, which is a very big deal…”

You may be wondering why those with Alzheimer’s need to exercise. After all, isn’t this a disease that affects cognition? Yes, but that’s not all it affects – muscle tone also declines as Alzheimer’s progresses. As a result, individuals lose their ability to perform basic self-care/living activities such as bathing, climbing stairs, etc. One of the main reasons people with this disease go into 24/7 care facilities is because they cannot care for themselves in these simple ways. If they could, there’s a good chance they could stay at home.

The study mentioned above tested the efficacy of exercise in enabling Alzheimer’s patients to regain strength, coordination and general health. The study showed that patients who received two, one-hour physiotherapy sessions each week for a year saw good results. As is stated in the article, “Their physical function declined about half as much as that of the control group. Importantly, they also had half as many falls as those who got usual care… The money they saved on medical bills more than offset the cost of regular private sessions with a physical therapist.”

Physiotherapy Can Help Those with Alzheimer’s Maintain Independence

Based on this study, regular physiotherapy sessions may help those with Alzheimer’s to maintain their independence and perhaps even avoid nursing homes. Don’t hesitate to contact a physiotherapist near you to set up an initial consultation for your loved one who has this disease.

Reach out to a physiotherapist today.

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