Many elderly adults that suffer from advanced dementia are sedentary, and it can be challenging to provide them with exercise, especially in long term care facilities like nursing homes. A study published last month investigated what methods of non-pharmacological interventions could be used to improve quality of life in adults with dementia.
The study compared music intervention, chair-based exercise, and chair-based yoga with participants who went to two 45-minute sessions weekly for a period of 12 weeks. The scientists found that participation in these activities was well-receives and more than 97% of the test subjects were fully engaged with each session.
Over the 12 weeks, the music intervention group did not fare as well, and there was a significant decline in quality of life in that group. However, the chair-based exercise and chair-based yoga group experienced significant improvements in quality of life, with decreases in depression. The physical effects of chair-based yoga reduced psychological symptoms and also improved balance and mobility, even increases the handgrip strength of the participants in that group.
There was an increase in agitation in the chair-yoga group, but the group overall reported a better quality of life, which the scientists believe is due to the meditative aspects of yoga. Chair yoga provides an opportunity for sedentary adults with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson disease dementia to engage in meaningful and beneficial exercise, while learning meditative practices and building routines.
Yoga has been touted as a very beneficial practice for people of all ages, and its benefits are available even to those with limited mobility.
- Park, Juyoung, et al. “Feasibility of Conducting Nonpharmacological Interventions to Manage Dementia Symptoms in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial.” American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementias, 18 Sept. 2019, doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1533317519872635.