Julie's Joy Filled Blog & FROG Centre News

  • Julie Bigham

Let's Get Physical

Welcome to the first official Blog of Joy Filled Visits, LLC. If you are caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s or other form of Dementia, and need ideas to help keep them more active and engaged, you’ve come to the right place.

Throughout my years working as an activity professional, I’ve had the opportunity to fill my toolbox with many helpful techniques for engagement and am dedicated to sharing these tools, and fun activity ideas, with family and professional caregivers through this Blog and my free monthly newsletter. If you haven’t had the opportunity to subscribe to the newsletter, you can do that through the Joy Filled Visits website: www.joyfilledvisits.com

Question for the day!

Is keeping someone living with Alzheimer’s active and engaged really that important?

Well, have you ever heard that saying, “Move it or lose it?”

Yes, keeping the body and the brain active is very important for all of us! Over the next few Blog posts I will share the many types of activities that are important, and the benefits you will encounter from these activities.

Let’s start with the physical. Before you start any kind of physical activity program with those you care for, check with their doctor to see what he or she feels is appropriate and safe.

If possible, head out the local YMCA or community center for a water aerobics or other class, or perhaps search the many senior adult exercise videos available on YouTube.com until you find one that fits and can be enjoyed from the comfort of home. Not that bold? Maybe a simple walk to the mailbox, a lap around the mall, or a trip around the block with the dog is more your speed. That works too, as long as it is safe and fun! (HINT - A simple walk can become a treasure hunt just by adding a list of simple items to find along the way. A Red house, purple car, pretty flower, bicycle, child playing, orange leaf, etc. You can change up the list depending on your venue)

*Here are some more spontaneous options that are too fun to really be called exercise.

How about some balloon ball, played while seated? All you need is a balloon and a little hot air. Batting the balloon back and forth with your loved one gives them the opportunity to have fun while working on reaction time, eye/hand coordination, and strengthening without over exerting themselves. My one rule with balloon ball? No falling out of the chair. Remind your loved one to sit back and prompt them to change hands occasionally as you bat the balloon back and forth. Add a little competition to the game, play over the table and see who can keep the balloon from hitting the floor. (HINT - An old pool noodle can become a soft bat for a more organized game. An abandoned Badminton Racket can come in handy too. You know your loved one or caree best. Be safe, and have fun.)

A beach ball can be used for kickball, and also played while seated. The ball is big and colorful enough to see and kick, but light enough that it won’t do any damage if someone takes a hit to the shin or nose. This is an exercise the whole family can enjoy. (HINT - the backyard might be a better setting just in case things get wild!)

Doing something different each day of the week may keep things fun and interesting and better assure that you stick to it. If the word exercise conjures up negative vibes, avoid it at all costs. “Let’s go for a walk mom?”, or “how about a quick game dad?”, works just fine!

What are the benefits of Physical Exercise?

In a nut shell, participating in doctor approved exercise is fun, healthy for the body and brain, and may improve mood, stamina, strength, sleep, and even appetite! Staying active may keep you both out of trouble as well! Something to strive for, for sure.

If you have other physical activity ideas or suggestions, I’d love for you to share them in the comment section for other caregivers! Let’s work together for a more active and engaged lifestyle! A benefit for all of us!


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