June is National Alzheimer’s and Brain month. In 2019 there were 5.8 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s Disease. 5.6 million are age 65 and older, the remaining 200,000 are younger than 65. It is the fifth leading cause of death in America.
Many have written about family members or autobiographically, describing the disease as a “long goodbye.” While Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain, we cannot separate the mind from the body.
How can Physical Therapy help? Physical Therapists work with family members to create a safe environment within the home to reduce fall risk.
Physical Therapists are movement experts and specialize in safe strengthening, stretching, balance activities and conditioning programs. Research has shown that exercise can slow the progression of the disease and may even delay onset.
In the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s, physical therapists can keep patients mobile, improving their ability to be independent at home and participate in community activities.
In later stages of the disease, physical therapists can help patients remain independent with basic activities of daily living, dressing, bathing, toileting and walking.
Many research studies have found that physically active individuals are less likely to have cognitive decline as they age. Some researchers have found that increased fitness of the heart and lungs may even prevent wasting away of the brain. Your physical therapist can help you design an exercise plan to improve your odds for healthy aging.
To find out 4 ways in which physical therapy can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, click this link! https://www.alzheimers.net/ways-physical-therapy-slows-the-symptoms-of-alzheimers/
Written by Pam Kline PTA- Parkinson’s/LSVT East Lewes office.