Senior Living Care Blog

Alternative Forms of Therapy For Seniors

Posted by Joe Gilmore on May 15, 2019 11:00:00 AM
 

There are a number of age-related illnesses, disorders, and diseases. While there are many treatment options for some of these, others, such as Alzheimer’s do not have a known cure. However, there are some types of alternative forms of care that can potentially alleviate some symptoms and be complementary to primary care treatment.

 

Alternative forms of therapy such as music therapy, yoga, aquatic therapy and more, can all help to help increase overall health and well-being and can even work to improve symptoms associated with dementia, arthritis, and more. Learning more about the benefits of alternative therapy and how they can be used in collaboration with primary forms of treatment can help to understand why participating in these activities is recommended

 

 

Types of Alternative Therapy

 

Music Therapy

A record player. Music is an alternative form of therapy for seniors

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are debilitating and degenerative diseases that currently do not have a cure. However, music therapy could prove to be a beneficial form of treatment that may help to improve cognition and may be effective.

 

There are a number of ways that you can implement music therapy into a loved one’s routine. For example, listening to music is one of the most obvious forms of music therapy but can also be effective. In some studies it was found that patients demonstrated and increased stabilization or improvement in self-consciousness during the mild or moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease when exposed to music. Singing is another form of music therapy that is associated with improved neuropsychiatric symptoms with Alzheimer’s after six months.

 

There is even some evidence that using music in the background for dementia patients may enhance autobiographical memory and even reduce anxiety in patients.

 

Art Therapy

Paint brushes. Art therapy is one of the alternative forms of therapy

Arts and crafts can provide a fun source of stimulation for the brain. Whether it is painting, drawing, scrap-booking, photography, or something else, there are a number of outlets for seniors to express themselves in a fun, creative way. Art therapy gives seniors a chance to keep their brain active and alert all while socializing with others. While there is more research that needs to be done on specific benefits of certain art forms, there have been some studies done on similar activities. For example, Kansas State University found that gardening is an excellent way for seniors to shred calories and increase flexibility.

 

One study by a director at George Washington University found that there were a number of benefits when it came to expressive art therapy, including providing a sense of control, alleviating depression and anxiety, improving cognition, increasing self-confidence, and more. For example, someone suffering from Parkinson’s disease may struggle to communicate effectively with others but through the power of art could create a piece that describes what it feels like to suffer from the problem.

 

Yoga and Tai Chi

A woman practicing yoga. One of the alternative forms of therapy for seniors is yoga.

Yoga and Tai Chi are two specific forms of exercise that hold a number of benefits for all that participate, not just seniors. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, yoga holds a number of benefits for individuals in their 50s and beyond. For example, yoga can help to slow bone thinning and reduce risks of osteoporosis as well as keep extra weight off the body to make movement and day-to-day life more simple. Moreover, these types of exercises will work to protect joints and build strength and balance which can help you avoid falls and other problematic situations.

 

Tai Chi is a gentle form of exercise that can also help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance. According to Harvard Medical School, Tai chi is often referred to as “meditation in motion”. But there is growing evidence that it can provide benefits for treating and preventing health problems. One study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that Tai Chi increased walking speeds.

 

Aquatic Therapy

A woman swimming laps in the pool. Alternative forms of therapy for seniors include aquatic therapy.

Obviously, the body will benefit from any type of exercise and as it will help the body maintain a healthy weight and cardiovascular system. However, there are distinct benefits from participating in aquatic exercises specifically. One reason aquatic exercise is so helpful is because of how safe it is. As we age, our limbs, balance, and vision become worse. This often leads to older adults suffering from falls that can lead to broken bones and hospitalization. However, the likelihood of falling is much slimmer if exercises are done in the water as it is much easier to recover from a misstep.

 

It should also be noted that there is some evidence that water-based exercises can be effective for individuals who have medical limitations such as arthritis.

 

“There is an increasing body of evidence that aqua therapy increases fitness and mobility in patients with rheumatoid arthritis without exacerbating their symptoms,” one study found.

 

There is much evidence that shows that participating in water-based exercises can have a positive impact on the health-related quality of life, improving both physical and mental health. It can also be effective in improving exercise habits.

 

 

Now What?

Regardless of what you choose to do, participating in one of these types of alternative forms of therapy may help to improve some symptoms and increase your quality of life. For example, there is some evidence that therapies like music therapy and aquatic therapy can help to improve problems like dementia and arthritis. These types of exercises and activities can help to improve wellbeing and give your loved one the ability to continue to live their day-to-day lives independently. However for some older individuals, living independently is not always an option.

 

For seniors who have debilitating diseases or are just simply too old, they require the assistance of a caregiver or more. There are many assisted living facilities that can help to give your loved one the type of healthcare and social interaction that they require. Landmark Senior Living is one facility that can offer your loved one access to medical professionals and memory care treatment to help them as they continue down this chapter of their lives. If you are interested in learning more about what Landmark has to offer, please visit our website and schedule a free walkthrough.

 

 

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Topics: Senior Activities

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