Physical Exercise Can Enhance Mental and Physical Functioning in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia

It is well known that the older population is increasing worldwide and that Alzheimer’s disease is one of the leading forms of dementia experienced by older adults. It has also been well established that physical exercise enhances health and well-being in older adults by improving mobility, physical and cognitive function, mood, and preventing falls. 30% of older adults with dementia reside in nursing homes due to the debilitating effects and loss of independence related to the cognitive disease. The types of physical exercise that are most appropriate for this vulnerable population are important to know to ensure that the physical therapy they are receiving is evidence-based and engages the individuals with dementia both physically and cognitively.

Many studies have shown that physical exercise interventions that differ from an older adult’s usual routine and targets more than one aspect can have the most beneficial results for patients living with dementia in nursing homes. Physical therapists would be the most qualified to accomplish such interventions due to their extensive knowledge and understanding of physical exercise. This demonstrates the significance and necessity to increase the use of physical therapists in caring for patients with dementia in the nursing home setting.  The economic benefits of utilizing physical exercise programs by physical therapists for nursing home residents are also important to consider.