Go with The Flow: Introducing Aquatic Therapy at Hearthstone Alzheimer Care

Water aerobics has long been a fun and low-impact way to get in shape, lose weight and feel better. It’s been especially popular with seniors (because the buoyancy of the water causes less stress on the joints but still allows you to get a good workout) and individuals who have injuries or issues with their lower extremities.

Recently, studies have shown that this type of therapy has benefits beyond the physical. In fact, it’s been proven that aquatic therapy can help improve cognitive impairment in seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

This philosophy and groundbreaking treatment is why Hearthstone in Marlborough is rolling out a new aquatic therapy program, which is being integrated into our Parallel Programming™ approach to dementia care. Starting this month, residents will be enjoying one-on-one, individualized aquatic therapy options as well as group programs to increase their quality of life.

“According to recent reports, water therapy can potentially be one of the most effective treatments for seniors with memory challenges,” says Dr. John Zeisel, the Founder of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care, The Hearthstone Institute, and the creator of I’m Still Here®, an innovative, evidence-based model of care for those living with dementia. “It can improve motor coordination, joint function, balance and help people regain an increased range of motion. Because water is so supportive, seniors can gain confidence. They’re able to balance much more easily and aren’t as hindered by physical limitations.”

But most importantly, regular exercise and aquatic therapy can give residents a real sense of accomplishment. “When they are swimming they feel a real sense of value and purpose,” says Dr. Zeisel. “Our goal at Hearthstone is to help all our residents experience days of meaningful engagement and enjoyment through innovative programming such as this.”

All aquatic therapy sessions will take place in the New Horizons fitness center and will be taught by an aquatic therapist certified in training with older adults. Unlike similar programs in which classes are conducted large groups of people, the Hearthstone instructor will work with residents and caregivers to create programs and therapies that are tailored to their individual needs, preferences and requests, allowing seniors to take an active role in their wellness routine.

“Regular exercise, including aquatic therapy, can provide many beneficial effects on the mind as well as the body,” says Madeleine Gelsinon. “Plus, it can be a fun activity that spurs memories. Think back to your summer days as a young child. Chances are, you spent many of them splashing in a pool or on a beach! Water has the capacity to soothe and relax as well as unlock that childlike sense of fun that we all possess, no matter our capabilities.”

Here are some other benefits that aquatic therapy can have for individuals with dementia:

  • Exercise in the water is easier to perform and causes less pain than on land
  • Decreases swelling and increases circulation and venous return
  • Builds strength, balance and confidence
  • Releases endorphins, which can boost mood and reduce pain
  • Helps with posture and can improve joint and back pain

For more information about our new aquatic therapy program or to learn more about the benefits of this innovative programming for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other memory challenges, contact the team at Hearthstone in Marlborough. Our approach to care and treatment is based on supporting individuals’ existing skills and knowledge and helping them feel successful and empowered in everything they do. To see how we can assist you or a loved one, call us today to schedule a personal tour at 508-481-9898.

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also welcome you to visit thehearth.org to read recent blog articles about memory care topics.

There is no place quite like Hearthstone!

Hearthstone Alzheimer Care is a memory health community committed to meeting the evolving needs of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia – and their families. Our goal is to set new standards for Alzheimer’s and dementia health and, more importantly, to elevate quality of life for people living with memory loss.

At Hearthstone, we offer something truly unique in the senior housing field: a community that can support persons living with any type of memory challenge—challenges that can change over time and often even day-to-day—and create meaningful, engaging experiences for everyone who lives there, regardless of the severity of the loss they are experiencing.

Our innovative, evidence-based I’m Still Here® approach, developed by our Founder Dr. John Zeisel, is central to our mission. I’m Still Here® ensures that each individual’s unique interests and skills are incorporated into their daily activities, so that every experience is meaningful and fulfilling.

Hearthstone’s residence has been built according to researched principles of therapeutic design: a perfect – and safe – way for residents to enjoy outdoor strolls, family visits, and gardening throughout the day. Our programming is designed to support all stages of dementia and provide a fulfilling, rejuvenating and enriching lifestyle for our memory care residents.

For more information, please call us at 508-481-9898.