In November John Healy, a physiotherapist working in Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown spoke at the café about the importance of maintaining mobility and remaining active.
Physical activity promotes heart and lung function, increases muscular strength and also helps the person to retain independence and keep a sense of purpose and wellbeing. Physical activity does not have to be strenuous, you just need to be slightly out of breath.
Choose activity that you like as you will be more likely to stick with it. This can include swimming, dancing or walking. Activity groups can sometimes be a good idea as it also helps to maintain social connectedness. It is possible to include activity into your day by everyday activities such as gardening.
Sometimes people with dementia find it difficult to motivate themselves to take part in physical activity. Gentle prompts and reminders can be useful to encourage them to be more active.
People living with dementia may be more prone to falls. They can misinterpret patterns on carpets and flooring as things they need to step over, fail to recognise steps or bump into furniture. There are a number of things that can help them to move about more safely.
- Make sure the environment is clutter free
- Ensure there is adequate lighting
- Make sure that shoes fit correctly.
- Use contrasting colours to highlight steps and limit the amount of pattern on floors.
- Use walking aids if needed. The Community Occupational therapist can help you with this can be accessed through your local health centre.
- Keep as active as possible to maintain function muscle strength.
- Visit your GP if you are worried about a fall (especially if you are not sure how it happened) or experiencing a number of falls.
If you have any concerns ask for advice on the best ways to support the person to move without injuring themselves speak to the GP, a community nurse, occupational therapist or physiotherapist for more advice. An occupational therapist can give advice about equipment and adaptations to help with mobility.