Posts Tagged Exercise

Register with Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch

Clinical trials are essential to advancing Alzheimer’s disease research at a time when Alzheimer’s is reaching epidemic proportions. Through clinical studies conducted over the last 20 years, scientists have made tremendous strides in understanding how Alzheimer’s affects the brain. It is only through clinical studies that we will develop and test promising new strategies for treatment, prevention, diagnosis, and ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

To learn more about how to participate in clinical trial, watch the video below about TrialMatch (a free, clinical-trial matching service).

Leave a Comment

The Night Shift cast Invites You to Fight Alzheimer’s on The Longest Day®

Leave a Comment

Use an Indoor Putting Set

putting green for real
To purchase, click here.

Spring is coming, so it’s time for all the golfers out there to brush off their putting skills in preparation for the first game of the season. Of course, practicing your putting is fun even if you don’t intend to go out and place 9 or 18 holes. There are a lot of options for in-home putting greens. Some, like the one above, have regulation sized holes, while others have a bit larger of a target, like the option below.

To purchase, click here.

Both of these include automatic ball returns, which is nice if bending over is painful or your balance isn’t so great. Watch this video to see how it works. Of course, if you want a bit more exercise you can get the non-technologic option and walk to retrieve your ball from the hole after each shot.

Those with more moderate dementia might be less frustrated with a larger target, while those with milder memory issues (or maybe just better golfing skills!) may prefer the challenge of the regulation sized hole with hazards.

Leave a Comment

Dance with a Kinect


Before we can really even start this post, I need you to go here.  Go ahead, I’ll wait. 

Okay.  Now that you’re back, if you don’t know what the Kinect game screen looks like, visit here for a peak.

Clearly this lady is having a ton of fun.  I have no idea what her cognitive status is, but that doesn’t really matter to me.  What matters is that the Kinect dance games are very intuitive. You simply listen to the music, watch the dancers on-screen, and mimic their movements.  Those in the later stages of the disease may find it easier to follow the moves or a real life person (which means you get to dance, too). A player with any amount of dementia may need help getting the right song playing, but the dancing should come pretty naturally.  Someone, please correct me if I’m wrong, but even if you’re moves don’t match the game at all, the song won’t end early, right?  So even if you make up your own dance, it doesn’t really matter, though it’s lots of fun to see if you can do it!

Two popular dancing-games using the connect are Just Dance and Dance Central.  Both have multiple version out there, and there are probably many other games with a similar concept as well.  Know of one?  Leave it in the comments!




Comments (1)

Play Bocce Ball

Photo courtesy of

Bocce is a fun outdoor game.  I’m not quite ready to call it “one of the most exciting and enjoyable sports” as one website I read while fact-checking the rules claimed it was (to be fair, it was a website that sold bocce sets, so they clearly have a skewed view), but it is fun.

Best of all (for our purposes at least), it’s a game many will have played before in the past, so the rules may still be stored in long term memory.  If not, don’t worry.  The rules are pretty simple (and flexible) so it shouldn’t be too stressful to keep a game going even if it’s new or “new” to the person with memory loss.

There are many ways to play Bocce, but a common version is called “Backyard Bocce”.  To play:

1. Divide the Bocce balls (the large balls) evenly between the two teams.

2. Have someone throw the pallina (the smaller ball) forward.  T(his is where you will be aiming your bocce balls, so make sure it’s a least a little ways away from the players.  You don’t want to get a bocce ball to the foot!).

3.  One team throws  a bocce ball toward the pallina

4.  The second teams throws a bocce ball towards the pallina.  If they  succeed, play reverts to the first team.  If not,  land closer to the pallina than the opposing team’s ball, they continue to throw their bocce balls  until one is. This is referred to as bettering the point.

5. Play continues with each team taking turns to try and better the point.

6. The round ends when both teams have thrown all their balls.  A team is given a point for each ball that’s closer to the pallina than its opponents’

7.  The team that wins the round throws the palina and the first bocce the next round.  The game ends when a team reaches a predetermined number of points  (typically 14 or 16) or after a predetermined number of rounds (typically 8).

Note:  You CAN use your bocce ball to try and knock the opponents’ balls out of the way, or to knock your own ball closer to the pallina.

Also Note: My family just took turns throwing our bocce balls, not caring about who was closest to the pallina to guide our turns and then scored the round using the system above.  Turn taking may be easier for someone with memory loss who is new to the game.  However, for someone with memory loss who has played before and remembers the rules, I would recommend playing and scoring as they recall it.

Leave a Comment

Play Ladder Golf

photo courtesy of

Ladder Golf, also known as Ladder Ball, is a fun, relaxing game for people of all ages and athletic-ability levels, making it perfect for people with memory loss.  The basic premise is to throw the bola (a fancy name for two golf balls held together by a piece of rope) onto the ladder.  Each level of the ladder, has a different number of points assigned to it: three for the top, two for the middle, and one for the bottom.

Traditionally, you have to get EXACTLY 21 points to win, but I generally play to whoever get 21 points or more.  You can also just play a certain number of rounds.  There are generally two teams, but you could certainly play with more.  Those in the early stages of the disease will likely catch on pretty quickly.  Those in the moderate stages of the disease might need more reminders of the rules and benefit from a teammate who can help them.   Those in the late stages of the disease may simply need to be instructed to throw the bola at the target, or even have some hand-over-hand assistance when throwing, but might still enjoy the fresh air and camaraderie.

Oh, and if you’re interested, you can purchase a game set online or in any local toy or big box store.  For the really ambitious, there are even instructions on how to build your own game set available online!





Comments (2)

Join us for “A Round to Remember”

When:  Friday August 3rd, 2012.  Shotgun start at 12 noon

Where:  Cracklewood Golf Club, 18215 24 Mile Road, Macomb

Fee:  $85 per person includes 18 holes of golf, drink tickets, and dinner (served after).

Not a golfer?  No problem.  Join us for dinner for only $30!

For details contact Randy Clark at 586-662-1411 or email

Comments (1)

Play the Wii

Just for the record, I have never been to Duxbury, England or its senior center, so please don’t consider this an endorsement of their program.


I’m sure that you’ve heard that Nintendo’s Wii, where you control movement on-screen with your movements, rather than punching buttons, is the new hot thing for older adults.  But what you may not know is that it’s great for those with memory loss as well.  The intuitive controls and games that rely on long-term memory, such as bowling, tennis, or boxing make it perfect for this group. 

Now I”m not saying you should go out and buy an expensive gaming system, but ask around and see if anyone you know has one (it shouldn’t be hard to find someone) and give it a trial run.  The best games are simple ones, like the starter “Wii Sports” game that comes with Wii when you buy it.  Expect to spend a few minutes teaching how to use the control for each game, but don’t be surprised if after a few turns, your loved one gets the hang of it and doesn’t need-or want-your help anymore!

Those in the moderate stages of the disease might need some reminders throughout the game, but it shouldn’t be enough to be frustrating.  If it is, try playing “hand over hand” where your hand guides theirs.  If even that’s too much, try letting them watch as others play.  Often even just the silly movements the players make and how “into” the game they can get is more entertaining than what’s going on on-screen!



Leave a Comment

Go to the Zoo


Photo courtesy of

The zoo is a great place for the young and the young-at-heart. For those with young hearts but not-so-young knees and hips, many zoos, such as our local Detroit Zoo, offer wheelchairs to help visitors get around.  They’re on a first come, first served basis, but I’ve never been there and not seen a bunch of them waiting at the entrance.  Or, if you prefer, just stick with the exhibits close to the gate, or plan lots of rest breaks (especially in the air conditioned exhibits!). 

A trip to the zoo is a great way to not only involve the younger generation in visiting the person with memory loss, it also gives older relatives who may be uncomfortable visiting for fear of what to do or say, a built-in activity with lots of conversation starters.  What’s your favorite animal?  What is that animal doing?  Any funny memories from past zoo visits? etc

Even those in the late stages of the disease can enjoy going into the butterfly house and watching the butterflies land all around them or going into the bird house and listening to the bird calls.   Or, maybe they are like me and would enjoy the “ice cream of the future” and a lemonade-yum!

Of course, it goes without saying to make sure that you pack appropriately for the weather.  Those with memory loss, especially those later in the disease, may have trouble expressing thirst, so be sure to push fluids.  Wear sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, long-sleeved clothing, etc and try to avoid the super-hot days.  In fact, one of the best times I ever had at the zoo was in a rainy day in April.  My friend and I were two of probably thirty people in the whole park and could sit and stare at my favorite animals (the chimpanzees and the baboons) for HOURS right in front of the glass.  It was amazing.  

In that vein, it might be prudent to NOT go on weekends, as it tends to be extra crowded, which can be overwhelming for those with memory loss.  If your loved one tends to wander away, consider dressing her in a bright, distinctive color and take a picture of  her that day just in case you have to show it to staff if she gets lost.  It may also help if you dress in a bright color as well.  The person with memory loss might not remember what you’re wearing, but being extra visible may help them pick you out of a crowd.

Comments (2)

Plant a Garden


This is pretty self-explanatory, really.  You can plant flowers or vegetables; weed, plant in beds, containers, or window boxes; use seeds, bulbs, starters, or mature plants; and the list goes on and on. 

Those in the early stages should be able to do this fairly independently, though you should still probably make sure weeds and desired plants don’t get mixed up (I did that at my own house the first year I owned it.  Those poor rose of sharon bushes didn’t know what hit them).  For those in the moderate stages, giving them one step of a job at a time is probably best, as is pretty consistent supervision. 

For those who bending is tough, try raised garden beds or sit at a picnic table and plant in pots.  For those who don’t like to plant, make them the official water-er.  Just be sure to use a watering can that’s not too heavy.  Ev en those in the last stages can enjoy being outside and smelling the plants and the freshly turned soil. 

The best part is, this is the activity that keeps on giving.  Now that a garden is planted, you can make watering it part of the person with dementia’s daily routine!

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »