The Happy Antics Holistic Program May Help Dementia Sufferers

2014-05-26 06:23

Dementia can be a horrifying condition that undermines the well being of sufferers and loved ones alike. It often appears as if there is nothing that can be done to help people afflicted with dementia which generates feelings of hopelessness and helplessness among sufferers of the condition and caregivers. New research which shows that holistic exercise may help people with dementia offers a more positive assessment of the possibilities in dealing with this condition.

There may be psychological and physical benefits from holistic exercise for people suffering from dementia reported the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. However, there has been a lack of research dealing with this matter. Researchers therefore decided to study the feasibility and acceptance of holistic exercise for people suffering from dementia.

The researchers designed and implemented a holistic exercise program specifically for people afflicted with dementia. There were than interviews aimed at exploring participants' experience of holistic exercise which were than analyzed. There were seven themes generated from the data, including:

1: Enjoyment

2: Relaxation

3: Keeping active

4: Social interaction

5: Pain relief

6: Learning something new

7: Intention to continue

The researchers concluded from the results of this study that there was feasibility and acceptance of holistic exercise for people with dementia. Furthermore, the participants appeared have a positive gain in regard to psychological and physical wellbeing.

Dementia patients are at risk of suffering from depression and declining physical and mental ability, and it is therefore significant that holistic exercise can help improve their physical and psychological wellbeing reports Elsevier in a review of this research. A research team from Teesside University in the United Kingdom explored how combining cognitive activities with various holistic activities and routine physical exercise affected dementia patients. The holistic activities included:

1: Yoga

2: Tai chi

3: Qigong

4: Meditation

The researchers observed that a holistic exercise program which focuses on both mind and body can help improve the quality of life for people suffering from dementia. This study was done in association with the Alzheimer’s Society (UK). The researchers developed the Happy Antics program, which is a holistic exercise plan that integrates physical movements with activities which are designed to take into consideration the emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual health of patients.

All of the participants in the Happy Antics program reported that they enjoyed taking part in the holistic exercise sessions and that they looked forward to attending them. The participants felt these sessions helped them socially. Some of the patients said the sessions helped them feel more relaxed and they experienced some degree of pain relief. Feelings of empowerment from learning to do the new exercises were shared by some of the patients.