Wellness is a term we often hear these days, especially as it relates to aging and retaining good health. Few realize, however, just how important a regular program of wellness is, and the central role wellness plays in the lives of individuals with dementia.
At our Anthem Memory Care communities, wellness is much more than a “concept”. It is a commitment. That’s because we have learned just how much difference a solid wellness program can make in the daily lives of our residents and how it serves their overall health and fitness.
Wellness, of course, is an umbrella term that encompasses several areas, including physical, emotional, social and spiritual.
The Alzheimer’s Association has outlined some key areas of wellness to focus on for better health. While their list is geared towards individuals in the early stages of dementia, it is helpful for family caregivers of loved ones recently diagnosed with dementia as well.
Following are some excerpts from the article. You can go to the link for details.
- Get regular check-ups. It’s important to establish a relationship with a physician you trust.
- Eat well, but eat healthy. A well-balanced diet is critical to maintaining physical health.
- Exercise! So many studies have shown the benefits of physical activity for those with mild cognitive impairment as well as dementia. It helps lower stress levels and may help reduce the likelihood of falls.
- Create a diet and exercise routine and stick with it.
- Create your own “care circle” of people, both professional and personal, who understand your health challenges and can help you monitor and respond to changes that may occur.
- Allow yourself to experience a range of emotions. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel.
- Get together regularly with a trusted friend and/or advisor.
- Join a support group of others who are either in the early stage of dementia or are caring for a loved one with dementia.
- Resist the urge to isolate yourself. While it may be tempting to retreat from social activities, the healthy choice is to stay connected to those around you.
- Taking safety and health precautions into consideration, continue to engage in the activities that you have always enjoyed.
- Focus social interactions on close family and trusted friends who know you and understand your situation. It will make it easier and more enjoyable.
- Now is the time to turn to those who have given you strength during difficult times.
- Look for opportunities to experience peace and serenity. This may be through a religious affiliation, meditation, or other ways of keeping yourself grounded during challenging times.
- Look for ways to reach out to others who may also be experiencing difficulties and could use some positive words and encouragement from you.
Whether you, yourself, are in the early stages of dementia or you are caring for someone who is, these time-tested tips can and should be put into action. Caring for all aspects of wellness not only optimizes overall health, but it helps those living with dementia to respond better to treatments and therapy.
Finally, we encourage you to reach out to your local Anthem Memory Care community. We regularly conduct seminars and support groups. We welcome you to join us!
(Our header image shows residents of Willowbrook Place Memory Care in Littleton, Colorado on an outing!)