Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia that causes brain cells to degenerate and waste away, resulting in problems with memory, thinking, language, and behavior. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050 the number is expected to rise to 14 million.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s and its devastating effects. But incorporating a complementary approach, such as yoga, into Alzheimer’s care, may help with some of the symptoms and challenges of the disease.
“Research around yoga and its impact on Alzheimer’s disease is somewhat limited and far from conclusive,” says Ruth Drew, MS, LPC, a director of information and support services for the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago. “But there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that yoga has potential benefits that could help in reducing stress, calming agitation, and improving overall mood,” she adds. Yoga can provide a safe, social physical activity that may help alleviate the isolation that Alzheimer’s patients can often feel.