Dementia caregiver

Tips for a Healthy and Active Lifestyle for People With Dementia

Eating healthy and staying active is good for everyone and is especially important for people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. As the disease progresses, finding ways for the person to eat healthy foods and stay active may be increasingly challenging. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Consider different activities the person can do to stay active, such as household chores, cooking and baking, exercise, and gardening. Match the activity to what the person can do.
  • Help get an activity started or join in to make the activity more fun. People with dementia may lack interest or initiative and can have trouble starting activities. But, if others do the planning, they may join in.
  • Add music to exercises or activities if it helps motivate the person. Dance to the music if possible.
  • Be realistic about how much activity can be done at one time. Several short “mini-workouts” may be best.
  • Take a walk together each day. Exercise is good for caregivers, too!
  • Buy a variety of healthy foods, but consider food that is easy to prepare, such as premade salads and single portions.
  • Give the person choices about what to eat, for example, “Would you like yogurt or cottage cheese?”

Tips for Home Safety for People With Dementia As a caregiver or family member to a person with Alzheimer’s or related dementias, you can take steps to make the home a safer place. Removing hazards and adding safety features around the home can help give the person more freedom to move around independently and safely. Try these tips:

  • If you have stairs, make sure there is at least one handrail. Put carpet or safety grip strips on stairs, or mark the edges of steps with brightly colored tape so they are more visible.
  • Insert safety plugs into unused electrical outlets and consider safety latches on cabinet doors.
  • Clear away unused items and remove small rugs, electrical cords, and other items the person may trip over.
  • Make sure all rooms and outdoor areas the person visits have good lighting.
  • Remove curtains and rugs with busy patterns that may confuse the person.
  • Remove or lock up cleaning and household products, such as paint thinner and matches.

National Centers, Local Resources The National Institute on Aging funds Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers across the U.S. that offer support groups and programs for people with dementia and their families.Search for a center near you.

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