Dementia Week 2017: Preserving identity through sport
The Alzheimer’s Society do some great work to raise awareness about Dementia—you can visit their website and make your own poster here.
Dementia. It’s a neurodegenerative disorder that can have devastating effects on all concerned.
Unfortunately, we can’t cure it just yet—but there is something we can do to help protect and preserve against memory loss. Sports.
Protect against Dementia
Taking part in sports later in life could have help combat dementia, research shows.
According to one study, ‘an active and socially integrated lifestyle in late life protects against dementia and [Alzheimer’s Disease]’.
Their research found a combination of physical activity, socialising and leisure time could have ‘a protective effect against dementia’—a promising find with a prescription that can easily be filled.
And it’s never too late to start. A 2012 study found having an active lifestyle could postpone the dementia onset in the elderly by more than a year.
Clearly, encouraging older adults to have an active lifestyle is important—something organisations like the Sporting Memories Foundation work toward every day.
Preserving identity against Dementia
One of the main aims of the Sporting Memories Foundation is to help those already suffering from dementia relive their memories through sport.
Not only does this trigger past experiences, it helps with social interaction, using sport to bring together elderly people in similar situations.
By sharing memories of sporting moments and tapping into a passion for sport we help people to connect with others and with their past, reawakening positive thoughts and feelings that otherwise remain hidden away.
The theory makes sense—re-enacting activities learned in the past, like swinging a golf club, can activate something called ‘muscle memory’, allowing people to remember in a different kind of way.
Research even found that too little physical activity can make some symptoms of dementia worse—with more exercise needed to reduce stress and improve remaining cognition.
Sport for all ages
Sport is a powerful tool that can be used to make lasting memories and forge strong bonds. It can benefit all ages, from young to old, and it’s essential that communities provide the facilities needed.
If you’re looking to develop a community sports facility, we at Collinson are national sports facility specialists. Call 01995 606 451 to chat with a member of our team.