Exercise, Pleasant Environment Good for Alzheimer’s Patients
Two new studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients are just like other people—they benefit from exercise and their surroundings have a behavioral and emotional affect.
In one study, Alzheimer’s patients (whose diseases were at various stages of severity) who spent 30 minutes per day walking, stretching or using light hand weights were in better physical shape and suffered less from depression than patients who did not exercise. The patients who exercised had a caregiver, usually a child or spouse, who was taught ways to encourage them to exercise at home. In a follow-up two years later, patients who had continued to exercise were still doing better physically and emotionally.
In the second study, patients who could make their environment more comfortable and personal by decorating with some of their own furniture and pictures, and who had access to an outdoor area where they could sit and walk, did better when tested for depression, aggression, social withdrawal and depression compared to patients in traditional hospital settings.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 15 October 2003; The Gerontologist, October 2003.