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The Power of Movement in the Dementia Journey

Discover how movement and dementia therapy can make a real difference for individuals living with dementia. It’s not just about staying healthy; moving our bodies can actually boost cognitive abilities, help us do things on our own, and make us feel better mentally. By embracing movement, we can improve the quality of life for those with dementia, empowering them to live their best lives and find happiness along the way.

movement and dementia

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movement and dementia: 7 great activities

1. Dance as a Therapy: Engaging in dance movement therapy can help dementia patients express themselves, improve their mood, and increase social interaction.

2. Walking: Regular walks, especially in nature, can improve physical health and provide a calming, grounding experience.

3. Yoga: The slow, deliberate movements and focus on breath in yoga can help improve flexibility and reduce anxiety or stress, as in Yin yoga.

4. Tai Chi: This gentle form of exercise can enhance balance and body awareness, reducing the risk of falls.

5. Aerobic Exercise: Simple activities like seated exercises, cycling on a stationary bike, or water aerobics can improve cardiovascular health.

6. Strength Training: Light weightlifting or resistance band exercises can help maintain muscle mass and improve overall strength.

7. Stretching and Flexibility Exercises: Daily stretching can improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and contribute to a better sense of well-being.

Movement Therapy Red Dress

General Benefits of Movement Therapy

It is a fact that physical activity improves overall health and reduces the risk of many negative health outcomes. To name a few:

Physical activity lower chance of getting:

A heart disease
A stroke
Certain cancers
Type 2 diabetes

Since there are so many benefits, it is also reasonable to assume that exercise could be good for dementia patients as well.

And indeed, there is evidence that physical activity can improve cognitive abilities, interdependence in daily activities, and mental health (quality of life) as well.

Cognitive function refers to higher-level functions of the brain and includes different modalities such as acquiring knowledge, perception, attention, judgment, decision making, processing speed, executive function, cognitive flexibility, task switching, comprehension, response inhibition, and memory performance. 

Movement Therapy Brain
Movement Therapy Couple Dancing

Dance Therapy for Dementia Patients

Dance Movement Therapy or short dance therapy is an intervention that has been considered a useful intercession for people with dementia. 

Besides dance therapy this kind of intervention is also known as dance movement psychotherapy, movement psychotherapy or dance-movement therapy.

What exactly is Dance Therapy?

According to the Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy UK the discipline is defined as follows:

“Dance Movement (Psycho) therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance through which a person can engage creatively in a process to further their emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration…”

Exercise for Dementia Patients

There are three main aspects that dance therapy shown to have on Dementia Patients:

Delaying cognitive deterioration
Improving mood
Increasing social interaction

How and where to make use of Dance Therapy for Dementia Patients?

Dance therapy can take place in different setting depending on the group of people accessing it. These settings include:

Health services
Social services
Voluntary organizations and
Care homes

Movement Therapy Chair Yoga

Exercise for Dementia Patients

As mentioned earlier engagement in exercise training by 5% over 5 years, reduces the percentage of patients with dementia by 11%. When looking at those numbers it is only reasonable that the American College of Sports Medicine as well as the American Heart Association recommended daily exercise for adult individuals.

Exercise in this sense can be seen as planned, structured, and repetitive exercise.