Chair Yoga at Adult Day Center Benefits Older Adults with Dementia

NJ VNA yoga program aims to improve quality of life for adults with Alzheimer’s disease

The Adult Day Center at Somerset Hills in Basking Ridge, NJ, has introduced a chair yoga program for all members. A recent study shows that chair yoga may provide an enjoyable activity to help improve balance control in older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. Expanding the Center’s slate of exercise and wellness activities designed to enhance the quality of life of people with dementia and functional impairments, this valuable program is made possible through monetary donations made to the nonprofit facility, a service provided through the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills.

“I believe everyone of any age can benefit from the integration yoga brings to the mind, body and spirit,” said instructor Patricia Haines, who currently teaches Gentle Yoga and Restorative Yoga classes at Ride + Reflect studio in Bernardsville, NJ. She notes that most of the Center members seem open to trying a new activity, and their attentiveness and willingness to participate has increased through each session. Each member follows along to the best of their abilities, and the sense of calm cultivated by Haines during the class continues through the day for most participants.

Although performed while seated, chair yoga helps cultivate an increased body awareness that can help improve balance control. The posture, breathing and meditative aspects of the class, specially designed for individuals unable to engage in traditional yoga due to factors including physical weakness and fatigue.

A life-long yoga practitioner, Haines became a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher in 2007 following an Inner Quest Intensive experience at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, MA. She has over 300 hours of training including Restorative Yoga, The Chakra System, Chair Yoga, and is also a Reiki practitioner.

The Adult Day Center provides a warm and welcoming setting that enhances the quality of life for people who will benefit from companionship during the day, including those with Alzheimer’s, moderate dementia, or functional impairments due to stroke or chronic illnesses. Caregivers also receive a much-needed break from their stressful daily routine, allowing time for work and other non-caregiving responsibilities while feeling confident their loved one is safe and not lonely. The care provided at the Center may help delay need for placing a loved one in an assisted living or nursing facility.