Walking Into 2024
Every year around this time, some of our residents, families, and Kemper Krew are busy taking stock of the year that just ended and are making new lists of resolutions for the new year. Perhaps exercising more often is at the top of your resolution list? How about walking into 2024… literally! A good, brisk walk is one of nature’s best exercises because it benefits numerous muscles while supplying the brain with oxygen, boosting energy levels, and enhancing mood and cognitive function. This holds particular significance for those living with dementia.
Like most people, a person with dementia may want to spend more time walking. Walking is good exercise and can help relieve stress and boredom. Alzheimer’s and various dementia types can impact individuals’ balance and mobility. Struggling to gauge distances, like judging the height of a curb, can leave people fearful of walking, despite being physically capable.
Engaging in physical activity and enjoying the outdoors can uplift spirits, potentially improving appetite and sleep. Walking provides an excellent opportunity for family, volunteers, or caregivers to spend quality time with someone and foster deeper connections with a person living with dementia.
Sometimes, conversation or quiet reflection feels more natural while in motion and appreciating the surroundings. However, it’s crucial to prepare for walks by ensuring the person is ready, having checked if they need to use the restroom and are appropriately dressed for the weather. Here are some additional pointers to make the most of your walks:
– Be prepared: Carry essential items like keys, water, an extra sweater, and a phone in a fanny pack or small backpack. Ensure the person you’re walking with has their necessary belongings, such as glasses, hearing aids, or walking aids.
– Choose the route wisely: Opt for paths that don’t involve crossing busy streets or lacking sidewalks. Walking near a playground or park is often enjoyable.
– Take it easy: Focus less on your walking speed and take time to appreciate the weather, trees, and people you encounter.
– Stay attentive: Look out for signs of increased unsteadiness, fatigue, or distress in the person you’re walking with. Walking a familiar route for a shorter duration, especially initially, is advisable. Remember that curbs and cracks in the sidewalk can pose hazards for someone who might not be aware of them.
– Seek assistance when needed: Encourage the person to hold your arm for added stability on uneven paths. If concerned about a potential fall, find a place to sit and seek help by calling someone to pick you up or to provide assistance.
As we walk into 2024, consider making walking part of your daily routine. The more you walk, the more likely you are to see and feel improvements. Your brain and body will thank you for it! Happy New Year from all of us at Kemper House!
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Thank you so much for the loving care and compassion you showed to our mother and to us during her stay and death. We know, she was not the most compliant person, buy you showed her the same loving care no matter what. We were blessed to have her in your care. You are truly all angels. Thank you again!
I want to take the opportunity to thank you for the wonderful care you gave my dad the last 5 1/2 months of his life. If he couldn’t be at home with my mother, you were the next closest thing.
Thanks to the staff for your ongoing care of my Dad. Your patience, kindness and caring for Dad help my Mom and I rest easy knowing he is in good hands at all times. Thanks for everything you do for him!
Every time my family visits each week for their porch visit mom looks FABULOUS! You and your whole organization really understand what to do with the residents and I have seen an amazing change. You are a blessing to our family.
Thank you also for the very touching and beautiful memorial service and luncheon honoring Mom and Dad. It meant a lot to us to have all of you share your remembrances of them.
Marianne & family
We greatly appreciate all that you have done for my Dad and for us. Your compassion, dedication, and gentle ways were a tremendous help. No one ever said to us, “It will be okay,” instead you said “We’ll help you.”
Alzheimer’s and dementia are formidable foes and they strip the individuals stricken of all of their dignity, yet you and your staff work diligently to reinstate the dignity and you do it quite successfully.
This is to thank you and all the Kemper staff who organized the memorial service last Friday. The content was perfectly appropriate and many of the participants expressed compliments to the kitchen staff for the great luncheon.