Yoga provides people with a multitude of benefits to their overall health, improving everything from mood and circulation to energy levels and aches. While most people are aware of this, they may not be privy to the fact that it’s also been shown to help those suffering from dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. (1) Furthermore, it’s even been found to help caregivers who are helping those with such diseases. (1)
A UK study found that a blend of techniques which are a part of a program called “Happy Antics” and include yoga, tai-chi, qigong and meditation have boosted both mood and memory of those impacted. (1) Individuals affected with early to mid-stage dementia who were aged 52-86 engaged in a series of non-strenuous motions and techniques such as simple stretching and breathing exercises during biweekly sessions, and it was noted that their ability to anticipate the next movements and even remember some sequences increased. (1)
Dementia patients and their caregivers discover benefits of yoga
Many participants expressed enjoyment from the sessions, which lasted for six weeks. One patient said they felt better after the relaxation techniques, and another added, “Good company, nice people. Feeling part of a team.” (2)
“This is an activity that caregivers and patients can do together,” said Yvonne J-Lyn Khoo, lead study author and a researcher with the Health and Social Care Institute at Teesside University in Middlesbrough, UK. “Because everyone is doing the program together,caregivers have peace of mind to at least allow themselves to ‘let go’ and do some exercise.” (2) She explained that having a caregiver participate in the process with them provided a sense of security and assurance for the patients that also promoted a heightened sense of well-being and interest in social interaction.
“The general impression is that people with dementia don’t exercise, won’t exercise or can’t exercise, but our findings show that it may not necessarily be that way.” (2)
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every 67 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, and over 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with the memory-robbing condition.