10 Best Back Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

A healthy spine and back are essential for almost every movement in daily life. In childhood and young adulthood, people tend to not realize the importance of back strength.

Over time it’s quite common to give in to what feels comfortable: slouching, sitting, and remaining sedentary. It’s easier to neglect the everyday habits that keep our health working for us instead of against us.

Why Is Back Pain So Common?

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) claims that 65-85% of people over the age of 60 experience musculoskeletal and/or back pain. That is a huge percentage of people suffering from pain and feeling a lesser quality of life than they desire. But why is this so common, especially now that modern medicine only keeps getting better?

Even though back pain can be caused by a long list of issues, one of the most overlooked reasons is one’s lifestyle. In a Swedish study of thousands of adult subjects from 20 to 70 years of age, back pain was reported higher in those who had a less active lifestyle.

“An object in motion stays in motion”, as the famous Newton’s First Law says. When someone stops having physical movement as a regular part of their life, the body weakens. If the muscles, tendons, and ligaments aren’t stretched and strengthened often, the tissues become stiff and weak. Eventually, this can cause mobility issues not only in back muscles but throughout the body. 

A senior person in a gym doing back exercise on Swiss balls
Regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy spine.

Best Back Exercises to Help Seniors

If you’re aging and you find back pain to be a persistent issue, remember it’s completely common among millions of people today. Does that mean you have to remain this way forever? Absolutely not! Although you might not be able to reverse the damage of bad posture over the decades, there is hope.

Practicing some of these 10 best back strengthening exercises for seniors can support your body, mind, and stability through the best years of your life to come.

Cat Cow Stretch

“Cat-Cow” (also known as Cat Camel) is a gentle exercise that is most popularly known through modern yoga. It helps stretch the abdominal and hip muscles while strengthening the core, lower back, and neck. It’s done in a fluid, repetitive motion that is easily synced with the breath, therefore relaxing to the nervous system. 

1. Begin in a comfortable position on all fours (weight is on your knees, shins, and hands).

2. Make sure your back and neck are straight, but not straining. Relax.

3. Taking a steady inhale breath, your neck and head gaze upward, and your hips and tailbone mirror in direction. Arch your back in the shape of a “U”. 

4. When you feel the subtle stretch and your breath is full, you’ve completed the “cat” pose. Now move onto “cow.”

5. During your exhale breath, release your head and your bottom down toward the floor. With your hands and knees, gently push into the floor as your spine arches up in the shape of a rainbow.

6. In the “cow” pose you should feel your ab muscles engaged, lower back stretching, and a slight curve in your neck.

7. On your next inhale, repeat the cycle. Continue the rhythm, “cat, cow, cat, cow”.

8. Repeat 8 times for up to 3 sets.

Man doing bridging exercise, lying on his back on black mat
Glute bridges are a great way to strengthen your spine, core, and legs.

Glute Bridge

A bridge exercise is very simple and adaptable once you learn it. A bridge stretches your hips and thighs while strengthening your core (abdominal muscles) and glutes (butt muscles). The glute bridge is great for hip flexors, which help you walk, stand, and drive. 

1. Start by laying on your back on a comfortably-padded floor, such as a carpet or yoga mat. Bring the soles of your feet to the floor with your knees pointing up to the ceiling. Your arms are on the floor, along the sides of your body, shoulders dropped away from the ears.

2. Engaging your outer hips and butt, push your hips up to raise off the floor slightly. Raise your hips and pelvis as high as you can off the floor. You may feel your core engage, too.

3. Gently lower your hips back down to the floor. Release your muscles and relax a second.

4. Repeat the exercise 10 to 12 times.

Arm Raises

Whether sitting against a wall or laying on a mat, arm raises are a good exercise for improving posture. This movement strengthens the shoulders, scapula (shoulder blades), and upper body muscles.

1. Lay on your back in a comfortable position. You may also try arm raises sitting straight up against a wall or bed frame.

2. With your arms relaxed at your sides, steadily lift your right arm until it’s pointing straight up in the air as if you’re raising your hand.

3. (If you have any pain raising your hand all the way, it’s okay. Try doing half the motion, pointing your arm straight out from your chest.)

4. Steadily lower your arm back down to its starting position.

5. Do this same motion with the other arm on your left side, raising and then lowering.

6. Repeat each side 8 times, for up to 3 sets.

Neck and Chest Stretch (Chair)

The neck and chest are two parts of the body that take a toll with poor posture and weakened muscles. The seated neck and chest stretch is an effective way to relieve tension while working the supporting muscles (scapula, neck, and obliques).

1. Start in a comfortable seated chair position with feet flat on the floor. 

2. Reach both hands behind your head, elbows pointing out like a triangle. Clasp your fingers together to support the base of your neck.

3. Gently gaze upwards, allowing your head to lift slightly and your chest open.

4. Inhale one breath.

5. On the exhale, move your abdomen to lower your right elbow down slightly toward the floor. Your left elbow will raise and your right side will feel a nice stretch.

6. Inhale as your rise back to the beginning position.

7. Exhale and move the other side: left elbow down slightly toward the floor and right elbow pointing up, feeling the stretch on the right side.

8. Repeat 5 times for up to 3 sets.

Shoulder Shrugs

Shoulders play a huge role in posture which can affect upper back pain. Including shrugs as regular strengthening exercises for seniors is just as important as focusing on the lower and middle back.*

1. Begin seated or standing straight up, whichever is more comfortable for you.

2. Raise your shoulders toward your ears. You might feel slight tension in your neck.

3. Release and relax your shoulders down to your neutral position, shoulders away from your ears.

4. Repeat several times. For an extra challenge, use light dumbbells during a few of your sets.

5. Make sure to follow this routine with gentle neck stretches to relieve any extra tension after this strengthening work.

Hip Hinges

When bending over, backs are not supposed to be the only part that does the bending. This is how we strain our backs. The spine is ideally to be kept straight and supported by the hips, legs, and core muscles.

This is why hip hinges are a much-needed exercise for supporting the back during everyday movements. Learning this movement improves your range of motion and can prevent future lower back pain.

1. Start by standing straight with feet shoulder-width apart.

2. Keeping your core engaged and spine straight, bend your knees gently to lower as you point your hips back. 

3. If capable, you can reach your arms down to give the lower back a deeper stretch. Watch for balance and your flexibility, though.

4. Keeping the back straight, “hinge” your hips back up, and stand in starting position.

5. Repeat 10 times, making sure to keep your back straight and focusing on the hinging at the hips.

Reverse Leg Lifts (Standing)

Doing reverse leg lifts while standing is great for the glutes and lower back. Most large movements involve the lower back and legs so the two must go together during exercise. 

This is a more advanced movement, so it’s okay if you need to work your way up to it. When doing reverse leg lifts, make sure to move your leg mostly by the strength of your abdominal muscles to get the most benefit.

1. Begin by standing straight up, holding onto something sturdy for balance. 

2. Engage your core and lift your right foot off the ground slightly, pointing your right leg straight back behind you. Hold for 5 seconds and return your leg underneath you, placing your foot on the floor.

3. Repeat with the left leg, hold for 5 seconds, making sure to remain steady and keep your core stabilized.

4. Do the same movements 5 times on each leg for a series of 3-5 sets.

Bird Dog

Another intermediate strengthening move for seniors is a hyperextension called the “bird dog”. Hyperextension is when the lower back and upper back are working together and increasing overall muscle support. The bird dog is excellent for strengthening while improving balance and coordination.

1. Start on all fours: hands and knees on the floor. Line up your hands underneath your shoulders, and knees under your hips for good form. 

2. Lift your right leg and point it back behind you, aligned with your back. Notice the weight shift of the rest of your 3 supporting limbs.

3. Once you’re comfortable with this balance, lift your opposite arm (left) and point it straight ahead of you, arm aligned with your head.

4. Hold the balance here for 5 seconds, and release both your arm and leg back down to the floor.

5. Reverse the opposing sides and hold the balance for 5 seconds, then return to all fours again.

6. Repeat 10 times, remembering to maintain stability in your core. A little wobbling is normal. If you lose balance, keep trying until you can hold.

Standing Lumbar Extension

This straightforward extension is another full-back exercise for nearly any level. Once you can do the basic move, you can increase flexibility and bend further. This will help with strengthening the muscles supporting your spine as well as giving more flexibility to your back.

1. Start by standing up with good posture, feet facing forward, and arms at your sides.

2. Place your hands on your hips for support. 

3. Using your ab muscles for support, bend your lumbar spine backward, creating a decent stretch throughout the rest of your spine.

4. Hold for 3 seconds then return to the starting position.

5. Repeat 8-12 times. 

6. If necessary, follow with hip hinges or forward bends to stretch after these lower back exercises.

Knee-to-Chest

The knee-to-chest routine is an introductory core exercise. It also stretches the back muscles and hamstrings. This move is simple and can quickly relieve low back pain. This should be done gently and slowly– it’s more of a relaxing stretch than a strength workout, so enjoy it a little bit each day.

1. Lay face-up on a padded mat on the floor to start, with your legs extended out as if about to sleep. You can put a pillow under the small of your back for extra support if needed. 

2. Lift one of your legs slightly, then bring your knee in toward your chest. Hug the leg in closer to your chest, feeling the lengthening of your back muscles and hamstring. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Remember to breathe.

3. Release and return your leg to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg and hold for 5-10 seconds. Return to the floor.

4. You can try to do both legs at a time for a more well-rounded stretch that feels good on the back.

5. Repeat 8 times and rest.

How Often Should Seniors Do Back Exercises?

The key to strengthening the back for seniors is consistency. As with any other workout program or good habit, a little bit every single day is the best way to reap the benefits. Instead of trying to do too much all at once, do less, but more often. 

For example, you can try to practice 5 of these exercises at least 3 to 5 days per week. That way, you build up stamina and familiarity both in your body and mind. Overall, including your routine as part of your lifestyle will have the most rewarding, long-lasting effect on your overall health.

Talk to your doctor beforehand if you need help creating an exercise plan that focuses on your back or any other area of the body. A professional can advise you on best practices and how to prevent injury.

They also can guide you based on your specific physical condition and current health status. The suggestions mentioned above are simply options for any older adults who want to take charge of their fitness.

Osteoporosis
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, worldwide, 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 years and 1 in 5 men will experience osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime.

Common Back Ailments In Seniors

  • Spinal Fractures: Many people over the age of 70 suffer from some kind of spinal fracture at some point. This can be very painful. Sometimes people with spinal fractures don’t know the source of their pain and it can be hard to diagnose. Luckily, many spinal fractures heal on their own. But prevention is key here, which a strong body can assure.
  • Hyperkyphosis: Kyphosis, also known as Hunchback, is when the bones in the spine weaken to the point where they change shape and curve incorrectly. It affects the posture of the upper and mid-back. It can be painful and uncomfortable. Hyperkyphosis is commonly a result of spinal fractures that were left unknown or unaddressed. 
  • Osteoporosis: Osteo meaning “bone” and -porosis related to “porous”, this condition is a weakening of bone mass. Keeping the muscles and bones healthy with movement can prevent and relieve spinal Osteoporosis symptoms.
  • Sarcopenia: As we age our physical structure gradually declines. But sometimes people experience a condition called Sarcopenia. This is a loss of skeletal muscle and tissue, which can be very painful. Adding some strength to the muscles can decrease this condition from worsening.
  • Disc Degeneration: Many people over 50 experience disc issues in their spine. Discs act as cushions or “bumpers” that allow back flexibility and protect the vertebrae from injury. If these discs degenerate or slip, they can cause serious problems. Keeping the back healthy and strong allows the discs to stay agile to support your spine.
  • Spinal Stenosis: Another painful condition is spinal stenosis. This affects nerves and bony matter within the spinal canal. It can eventually compress the nerves and cause constant tingling, numbing, or throbbing pain. Sometimes surgery is required as treatment.

What To Avoid

Just because an exercise program or routine is known as a safe back exercise does not mean it’s safe for all seniors. 

Disclaimer: When seeking back strengthening exercises to help resolve pain or to maintain physical fitness, pay attention to your body. If it’s hurting too much, the exercise is too much for you. Try a modification.

Don’t attempt fitness or medical advice unless it’s approved by your health care provider or physical therapist. Pushing yourself too much can lead to worsening pain or bodily damage.

If any movement is too much to do on your own, ask a caregiver or trainer to help you workout to improve back strength.

Making Your Exercise Routine Work For You

There are many simple exercises that seniors can use to strengthen the back. You might have to try a few different ones to see what works best for you in the shape you’re in.

Even though it might seem discouraging to start exercising when aging, there are great benefits that come with healthy movement. The stronger your back, the longer you’ll have the physical support you need to enjoy life.

Neuropathy Treatment: 5 Home & Natural Remedies

If something can be treated naturally, would you try it? Sometimes going to a healthcare facility for your medical condition can send you in a downward health spiral due to negative side effects associated with treatment. Some conditions might have good results without undergoing invasive medical procedures or buying tons of pricey medications. One of these conditions is neuropathy. 

There are four kinds of neuropathy, each affecting a different set of nerves. They are autonomic, peripheral, proximal, and focal. Autonomic nerve damage is harmful to body processes such as digestion and can affect heart rate and blood pressure. Peripheral neuropathy affects the toes, fingers, hands, and feet and is the most common. 

Peripheral Neuropathy

In the US, there are more than 20 million people with peripheral nerve damage, and probably many more undiagnosed. Peripheral neuropathy, often shortened to neuropathy, happens when the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord have been damaged. These nerves, called peripheral nerves, are vital for relaying information from the brain to the rest of the body. When damaged, they elicit stabbing, burning, or tingling pain in the hands and feet. You may also feel numbness. These symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are usually mild and are rarely debilitating or deadly. However, they can harm your ability to perform daily activities, which can reduce your quality of life

This condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, shingles, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. Diabetes is the predominant cause of peripheral nerve damage, resulting in what is called diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Keep in mind that not only medical conditions cause this disorder; you can also experience symptoms due to injuries or stress. 

Though the condition is not curable, there are different methods of treatment to ease the pain. To treat nerve damage, the focus is on relieving the pain, reducing discomfort, and restoring function. The chosen treatment for pain cessation will depend on what the underlying cause may be. A healthcare professional may administer corticosteroid injections, perform nerve stimulation, conduct physical therapy, or even recommend surgery. However, oftentimes doctors will prescribe nerve pain medications. Some of them may include amitriptyline, oxycodone, gabapentin, pregabalin, tricyclic antidepressants, or duloxetine. They will also prescribe topical ointments such as lidocaine, menthol, and methyl salicylate.

You must be aware, however, that these medications often come along with side effects that can be just as difficult as the problem itself. Some of these common side effects include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, drowsiness, and dizziness. Not only that, some medications do not react well alongside other drugs. 

What if, instead, you tried out some natural remedies for your symptoms? There are quite a few home remedies as well as natural remedies you can utilize. And the best thing? No harmful side effects. In this article, we will discuss 5 of these remedies, what they are, and how they can help. 

Essential oils can be used for therapy purposes.

1. Essential Oils

Essential oils have a variety of uses, including healing neuropathy and nerve pain. The regeneration of nerves can be a slow process, but treatments of aromatherapy can be a great alternative method to aid in this process. Some essential oils are known to have especially pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. They are said to achieve this by increasing circulation within the body. And all this is non-invasive, and found naturally in plant extracts! Some of the most effective essential oils for nerve pain relief include:

  • Chamomile: Chamomile acts as an anti-inflammatory, as well as a pain reliever that can help with neuralgia, rheumatic pain, and neuritis. Chamomile can help promote blood flow in the body. 
  • Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil works well as an anti-inflammatory. It also suppresses muscle spasms and helps pain relief. It is said to help encourage blood circulation in several nerve conditions, including neuralgia and sciatica. 
  • Geranium: Geranium oil sedates and has analgesic properties. There have been clinical studies showing that it can help in the reduction of pain.
  • Helichrysum: This oil works fast to provide relief. It helps with inflammation and reducing pain.
  • Lavender: One of the most widely used, lavender oil has a big reputation for its pain-relieving properties. The scent is calming that helps with the reduction of anxiety, stress, and depression. It also fights inflammation and promotes blood flow in the body. This oil can help in the treatment of sciatica, muscle aches, neuralgia, and muscle spasms. 
  • Peppermint: Peppermint oil is an especially helpful essential oil for the treatment of nerve damage. It induces pain relief, as well as exhibits anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint is a stimulant and should not be used before bedtime. It works well combined with other oils, making it even more potent.
  • Rosewood: This oil aids in reducing stress and promoting relaxation. It also relieves nerve pain. 
  • Ylang-Ylang: Ylang-ylang oil works as a strengthener for your nerves. It also sedates, enabling you to relax and let go of stress and anxiety.
  • Frankincense: This oil is another sedative that fights inflammation in arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have shown that frankincense can help prevent cartilage tissue from breaking down, which is the major cause of these conditions.

Applying these oils to the area of pain can soothe the stinging and tingling caused by neuropathy. It may be helpful to speak to someone skilled in aromatherapy or natural medicine to determine which oils are the best for your condition. This could be a certified herbalist, a doctor, or an aromatherapist. Also be sure to ask if the essential oils are ok for you if you are pregnant, nursing, or have a medical condition that the use of oils may interfere with. They should guide you on the right path and where to buy the proper oils. 

Also, before you begin, make sure you read all the labels to determine that your essential oil is pure. Then, test the oil on a small area of skin before trying it on large areas. These oils work best diluted because not doing so can cause your skin to become irritated and inflamed. 

There are several ways you can administer these oils. You can mix them in with your creams and lotions. Or you can add a few drops into the water when you take a bath. Taking an essential oil bath can be doubly healing due to the warm water in the bath. Warm water is said to increase blood circulation throughout the body, which can lessen the pain. Another way to administer the oil is to add them to a diffuser. In this way, you can also share the healing properties with your loved ones in the room. Or you can even apply the diluted oil directly onto the skin. You can dilute the oil by adding a few drops of the chosen essential oil in 1 ounce of a carrier oil like olive oil. You can also use a cold-pressed nut, vegetable, seed, or fractionated oil. Some people like to blend their essential oils, combining the properties of several oils into one. Experiment and find out what works best for you.

2. Capsaicin

One FDA-approved product for the treatment of neuropathy is a high-dose capsaicin patch. Capsaicin, a naturally occurring compound derived from cayenne peppers is beneficial for some people with nerve pain. It can decrease the intensity of pain signals triggered by nerve damage. 

Capsaicin is often used as a topical ointment for those who cannot tolerate medications, or want to avoid them. The initial treatment of the ointment may burn, but eventually, you will experience a reduction in sensations.  You can also incorporate cayenne pepper into your diet, as well as take it in supplement form. Capsaicin often works well for people, with very few people experiencing systemic side effects. Some negative aspects of the chemical compound include lack of efficacy when used at low doses, high cost, as well as the need to often reapply. Talk to your doctor before you undergo this treatment method. And before using, be sure to test on a small area.

3. Supplementation

Supplements not only have many health benefits, but they can also aid in the alleviation of nerve pain. It is important, however, to not overuse them, and to take them for additional aid in your relief, not as a cure. Taking supplements depends on your comfort level, the state of your condition, and the go-ahead from your doctor. Make sure to only take the recommended amounts your doctor suggests. 

Vitamin deficiencies are one of the risk factors for peripheral neuropathy. There are many supplements you can take to help ease your symptoms, a lot of them also not listed here. Do your research on the variety of vitamins and supplements that you can also take. Here are the ones we recommend: 

  • Vitamin D: A vitamin D deficiency can worsen nerve damage. Taking a supplement can help reduce symptoms. 
  • B-complex vitamins: These are essential for the health of nerves, and can be helpful in the diminishing of pain. A deficiency in B vitamins can lead to extensive nerve damage. You can get vitamin B from food, but the supplement offers it in a much more concentrated form. Follow doctors’ orders for the recommended dose to avoid the worsening systems and to prevent toxicity. Vitamin B-12 assists in the formation of red blood cells and DNA. B-12 and B-6 both play a key role in the maintenance of the myelin sheath which encloses the nerve fibers and makes sure the messages your nerves are conveying are traveling through your body. This helps reduce the pain from nerve damage. Vitamin B-6 also assists in the formation of chemicals that implement communication between nerves. Vitamin B-7, also known as biotin, in combination with a chromium supplement can help with blood glucose levels to fight diabetes and diabetes-induced neuropathy. Biotin is said to help control the pancreas’ output of insulin, while chromium is said to improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid: This is a potent antioxidant that is made in our bodies which eliminates free radicals. You can also find it in spinach and broccoli, though only in small amounts. Taking alpha-lipoic acid has been proven to reduce numbness, tingling, and burning symptoms. It helps the leveling of blood sugar and can help maintain healthy blood vessels that are connected to the nerves.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties and can decrease numbness, burning, and tingling.
  • Magnesium: It is said that magnesium may help with chemotherapy-related nerve damage, but more research is needed. However, a study published that those with high 

amounts of magnesium in their daily intake were less likely to experience nerve damage. 

  • Evening primrose oil: Has anti-inflammatory properties and can decrease numbness, burning, and tingling. 
  • Acetyl-l-carnitine: This amino acid is an antioxidant that helps burn fat and increase energy. Produced in your liver and kidneys, l-carnitine helps your heart and brain to function, as well as promotes muscle movement. Not only that, l-carnitine protects the nerve fibers, helps with nerve pain, and aids in the process of nerve cell growth. These are especially important components in healing for those with diabetic neuropathy. This amino acid can be taken in supplement form.

4. Lifestyle Changes

A healthy diet, exercising, and incorporating good habits into your life can have the most positive effect on your nerve pain. Lifestyle changes can leave you feeling healthier, calmer, more balanced, and restful. Small incremental changes implemented here and there throughout your regular daily activities can have a positive effect on your nerve health.

Diet

We have covered the positive effects vitamins and other supplements can have on reducing nerve pain. You can also find many of these supplements in the form of healthy foods. For those with diabetes, changing their diet can especially help lessen the symptoms, allowing diabetic nerve pain to lessen. To achieve this, eating foods rich in fiber is recommended. Do your best to stay away from white bread products, processed food, alcohol, and sweets. 

Exercise

Exercise helps manage pain and benefits your overall health. It can increase the blood flow to your arms and legs. It also helps reduce stress. Maintaining healthy physical condition through regular exercise, is extremely important, especially for those that have diabetic neuropathy. For diabetics, maintaining an exercise routine allows the body to better regulate blood sugar, which will in turn slow or reduce nerve damage. For those with peripheral neuropathy, exercising helps reduce the pressure of the peripheral blood vessels. 

Good Habits

Review your overall happiness and outlook. Do you feel stressed? Tired? Rundown? A few habit changes may help you revive your energy levels, as well as improve your neuropathic symptoms. 

One habit that affects your blood circulation and blood vessels is smoking. When you smoke, your blood vessels narrow, which means not as much oxygenated blood can get through. Due to this limited blood flow, you will experience more numbing and painful symptoms. If you were to quit smoking, you would see an improvement in the blood flow, as well as healthier blood vessels.

Some other great habits you can try are relaxation techniques. These habits such as deep breathing, mediation, and stretching exercises like yoga help people manage their pain by relieving stress. They can help you learn to cope with the pain, which can decrease the intensity of it. These noninvasive relaxation techniques help you gain more control of your condition through a mind-body approach. After all, the mind and the body are deeply connected. 

One of the most important good habits is sleep. Limit your caffeine in the afternoon to ensure you will get a full night’s sleep. If you keep a consistent bedtime and get at least eight hours of sleep every night, your stress level will reduce, allowing you to better cope with neuropathic pain.

Acupuncture can also be used to treat the body’s pressure points.

5. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese tradition used to treat pain by inserting needles into the body’s pressure points to stimulate the nervous system. When this occurs, endorphins are released, which are the body’s natural painkillers. 

Acupuncture is used by neuropathy-sufferers who want to alleviate their chronic pain. Not only is the ancient tradition said to relieve the pain, but it also increases blood flow, which can restore nerve damage. Many people who have undergone acupuncture treatment have had more improved symptoms than those who have gotten traditional medical treatment. And not only that, this method can balance the energy of the body, which can lead to greater emotional well-being.

Find the Right Solution For You

As a disclaimer, we want to state that this article is not meant to be taken as medical advice. However, we do believe that utilizing some of these remedies may have a positive effect on your nerve health. And not only can they help alleviate painful symptoms, but they can also help increase your overall health and well-being. Whatever treatment path you decide to go down, we encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider before you make any big changes. Seeking out the advice of a professional is always helpful. We here at CareAsOne hope you find the right solutions for you and wish you increasing comfort and well-being.

5 Best Clocks for People With Dementia / Alzheimer’s

Dementia is a difficult diagnosis to live with, whether it be in yourself or someone you care about. There are many unknowns, inconveniences, and challenges that come with this disease. Living in today’s fast-paced society means there’s no slowing down for people affected by dementia. But fortunately, some modern tools and technologies can relieve the difficulties. 

Some products, like dementia clocks, can bring simple solutions to daily life. Here is all you need to know about dementia, memory, and the best dementia clocks to help you through the main stages of dementia. 

What is Dementia? 

Before getting into the best types of dementia clocks on the market, we need to clarify what dementia is and how it affects people. 

Dementia is a memory loss and brain degenerative disease that affects over 50 million people worldwide, according to World Health Organization updates. In the United States alone, there are about 5 million people alive today with some type of dementia diagnosis. Every year, these numbers increase significantly. 

Most of all, dementia affects how a person uses cognition, how they behave, their ability to remembers things, and what their body is physically capable of. Even though there are many kinds of dementia, the overall characteristic is memory loss and progressive brain damage.

senior man looking at wall calendar and touching head
Dementia goes through various stages depending on the area of the brain that’s affected.

Stages of Dementia 

There are three primary stages of dementia: Early, Middle, and Late. 

1. Early-stage dementia is often mild. The person can still function, although they might be forgetful, confused, and have trouble recalling facts or timelines. Moodiness, irritability, and fatigue are also associated with this first stage. 

2. Middle-stage dementia is when the person starts to show signs of serious decline. They might become a slightly different person, seemingly behaving in strange, new ways than usual. Their memory worsens and they need help functioning mental tasks. Their speech might begin to dwindle, too.

3. Late-stage dementia is when someone finally requires ongoing, around-the-clock supervision and medical care. They likely have difficulty holding their bowels, controlling their emotions, and swallowing food or water. This stage is when they are getting closer to death. They often forget who close friends and family members are, or even forget their names and identity. 

Symptoms of Dementia 

The symptoms of dementia depend on what type of dementia a person has, how long they’ve had it, and any preexisting health factors they might have. Generally speaking, there are some key red flags and warning signs of dementia. These signs include: 

  • Forgetfulness
  • Memory loss (long-term memory and short-term)
  • Changes in mood and emotional regulation
  • A decline in mental processing 
  • Cognitive impairment 
  • Confusion
  • Problems with communication or personal expression
  • A progression of brain damage over time
  • Difficulty with physical motor skills

Types of Dementia

The main types of dementia that affect the global and national population include a list of about 5 different kinds. Here are the most common types, and a brief description of each. 

Alzheimer’s disease: The most common type of dementia in the world. Alzheimer’s greatly impacts memory, cognition, and emotion. This type of dementia is what most of us think about when we hear the term “dementia”. People forget things, easily become lost, lose track of time, and eventually can’t recognize their loved ones. 

Vascular dementia: This has to do with brain damage associated with blood and oxygen getting cut off from the brain. It’s usually a result of someone who had a history of strokes or serious injuries to the brain. It can rapidly cause a decline in a person’s memory, ability to process information and regulate their emotions. 

Mixed dementia: Mixed dementia is when there are active signs of more than one type of dementia present at once. It’s a general diagnosis where someone has dementia, but they show signs of more than one type. 

Lewy bodies dementia: When a type of protein in the brain (called “Lewy bodies”) builds up in excess, it can cause impairment to movement and emotion. Dementia with Lewy bodies, sometimes called LBD or Parkinson’s dementia, is a form of dementia that causes tremors, shakes, bizarre behavioral changes, and associated physical health problems. 

Frontotemporal dementia: One of the rare types of dementia, this can occur in younger middle-aged people as early as in their 30s or 40s. It affects behavior and emotion most, but also shows memory decline. 

Why Do People Use Dementia Clocks? 

All the signs and symptoms of dementia can seem overwhelming. But don’t let that make you feel hopeless about this disease. Even though it is a leading cause of death, there are plenty of ways to make the years after diagnosis comfortable, convenient, and safe. 

People use dementia clocks when they or their family member is starting to forget things during daily life. They might forget what day it is, when their appointments are, or whether or not they’ve already taken their medication at the right time. 

Dementia clocks are digital or analog tools that help dementia patients remember simple dates and tasks that might slip their memory. Some of them are fully customizable to assist with reminders and urgent priorities. 

Do These Clocks Actually Help? 

Dementia clocks can help individuals with dementia as well as their families. They can provide extra communication and reassurance when it comes to scheduling, important habits, and medical care needs. 

These types of clocks work to the extent that someone ensures they are going to be a helpful tool to their loved one’s life. There needs to be someone to teach the patient how the clock works, what it will help them with, and remind them when any issues come up.

Here are the popular types of clocks for people with Alzheimer’s:

Day Clocks

The day clock focuses on the time of day and the day of the week. They’re usually bold-lettered and indicate what time of the day it is (day or night), along with the date and day of the week. Some of them have the month as well, although these are usually seen on calendar clocks.

Digital Calendar Clocks

Calendar clocks are designs specifically for dementia patients with trouble remember the time of year or season they are currently in, as well as the date. They display the month, day of the week, current date, and exact time. This way, the patient with dementia can look at the clock and be informed about what is going on. Since many dementia patients with early or middle-stage dementia get wrapped up in memories, it’s a good reminder for them.

Talking Clocks

Talking clocks inform patients of the time with a chime or verbal notification. Today there are digital tools like Amazon’s “Alexa” and “Echo”, where a person can ask what time it is or for current updates on today’s news. 

Digital Alarm Clocks

Some alarm clocks are specifically designed for Alzheimer’s patients. Regular alarm clocks can be confusing with all their small buttons and hard-to-read displays. With digital dementia alarm clocks, the buttons are larger and labeled. This makes it easier to navigate and set specific times. 

Clocks with Medication Reminders

More modern dementia clocks can be programmed to remind a person of their medication schedule. It’ll display or voice a term like, “9:00 AM, time to take your medication.” This is extremely useful for dementia patients, as mixing up meds can be harmful! Medication reminders can make a world of a difference. 

5 Best Dementia Clocks (and the Pros and Cons of Each)

Here are some of the top-rated and medically respected clocks for people with dementia, along with some of the pros and cons of each.

1. Dementia Alarm Clock & Day Clock with Medication Reminders 

This all-in-one clock offers everything mentioned above. You can set reminders to take medication, change the display from digital clock to analog view, customize the high-resolution brightness settings, and set the alarm options. Its adapter is easily plugged in so there’s no need to change batteries. It’s a great tabletop clock to put in any room.

Pros:

  • Customizable hour view (12 or 24-hour)
  • Automatically dims when the sun sets
  • States time of day 
  • Displays month, day of week, date, and time
  • Many customizable clock features
  • Large 17.5-inch display
  • Option to connect to your WiFi
  • Radio 

Cons: 

  • Troubleshooting can take time to get used to
  • Weather forecast can be inaccurate depending on the location 

2. Alzheimer’s Day Clock with Event Reminders 

This day clock displays and tells you the time of day, as well as the week and date. It also has reminders with alarms to take medications, upcoming appointments, and more. Brightness settings are adjustable with auto dimming and other display options. Set your favorite dates and milestones to the calendar so you can remember celebrations and social events.

Pros:

  • Track and keep up with sleep schedules and reminders
  • Multiple display options
  • Wall-mountable 
  • Sleek design 
  • Select from several different frame colors
  • Remember birthdays, anniversaries, and more

Cons: 

  • No battery backup
  • A little bit pricey 

3. WiFi Smart Watch with Elderly GPS Tracker and Voice Call

There are several watches on the market that contain GPS tracking options. This is a great choice for anyone concerned about getting lost, wandering off, or forgetting their location when they are dealing with dementia. It connects to a GPS smartphone app so you can locate your loved one if they become lost. There is also an option to set up voice calls so you can talk directly through the watch. It makes a great gift for someone who needs it.

Pros:

  • GPS tracking for safety and security 
  • Water-resistant
  • Pedometer that tracks daily steps
  • Displays digital time, day of the week, and date
  • Call options 
  • Automatically changes to daylight saving time when the time changes 

Cons:

  • Limited display options and small font
  • User interface not very customizable
  • Calls don’t work unless the person’s cell phone is nearby
  • Poor customer reviews 

4. Memory Loss Digital Calendar Day Clock

A digital calendar clock can help people with dementia keep track of their lives. This calendar clock reads the clear time of day: Morning, afternoon, evening, night, and before dawn. This helps the person keep track of the time of day, even if they start forgetting how to perceive time. Because people with dementia can experience sleep issues, it’s also helpful for waking up at abnormal hours and getting familiar with what date and time of day they’re in.

Pros:

  • Large font for those with vision problems
  • 5 different time of day descriptions
  • Automatic dimmer for when it gets dark
  • No confusing abbreviations
  • Battery backup in case the clock gets unplugged or there’s a power outage 
  • A great day of the week clock

Cons:

  • Only two display scheme options
  • No options for appointment reminders or calendar schedules

5. Analog Day and Night Wall Clock

For those who prefer a simple, analog wall clock, there is a day and night dementia clock. This is a minimal clock with numbers and analog time tracking, like a regular, old-fashioned living room clock we all know and love. There is a picture that cycles as time ticks by, shifting from “night, morning, day, and afternoon”. This way, a person with memory loss can easily know whether it’s AM or PM when they look at the clock.

Pros:

  • Simple, minimal analog design
  • Easy readability 
  • Looks great on walls
  • Picture of time of day so the person doesn’t have to ask if it’s day or night

Cons:

  • No alarm or reminder options
  • Batteries only, which need to be replaced occasionally
  • Doesn’t show date, day of the week, or month
  • Can become outdated as dementia progresses
  • If the battery runs out, will not display the correct time
old man losing his memory from due to dementia
A memory loss clock helps dementia patients with maintaining a routine and staying focused.

When Should Someone Get a Memory Loss Clock?

If someone keeps losing track of time, they should get a dementia clock. Depending on the severity of their dementia, these types of clocks can save a lot of time, worry, and confusion in their daily life. 

People with early or middle-stage dementia, with mild dementia symptoms, benefit most from dementia clocks. They still have the awareness of time and can do simple tasks on their own or with the help of a caregiver

Mainly, dementia clocks help a patient be reminded of the date and time of day. When their memory is declining, they can start frequently asking loved ones, friends, and caregivers, “What time is it?” and “What is today’s date?” Which they can soon forget again. This becomes repetitive and annoying, so sometimes it’s better to just have a dementia clock for both the patient and the caregivers’ peace of mind. 

When to Find a Caregiver or Nursing Home for Dementia Patients 

If someone you love has been diagnosed with dementia, you can opt to get a caregiver or nursing home at any time. The early stages are milder and allow the person to still carry out basic functions on their own. 

However, in middle-stage dementia, things can get dangerous. The person might get lost, forget their personal belongings, or become suddenly aggressive with behavioral changes. In late-stage dementia, full-time care is often required, as the individual loses the ability to control their bowels, movements, and eating and drinking. 

The sooner you seek help for someone with dementia, the better and more comfortable they can be during the nearing end of their life. 

What Else Can I Do to Help Dementia Patients?

Aside from getting a dementia clock, finding medical support, researching the best nursing homes, or hiring at-home caregivers for your loved one, there are other ways to support people with dementia. 

Monitor and Manage Symptoms

Pay attention to the individual’s progression of symptoms. Every person with dementia goes through the process at varying rates. Some people have a life expectancy of only a few years, whereas others live on for decades after diagnosis. The more you monitor and find support for their current symptoms, the safe they’ll be.

Get a Caregiver 

Getting a caregiver for someone with dementia can relieve the patient’s and family’s stress. Caregivers are professionals who care for those in need. They assist physically, emotionally, and medically. They can help bathe, treat, feed, entertain, and socialize the patient when they need help the most. 

Offer Support

You, too, can help emotionally support your loved one. Spend time with them, go on walks outside, remind them to take their medication, and make sure they’re living in a safe and sanitary environment. 

Be Patient

It can be frustrating dealing with someone whose memory, personality, and behavior are constantly declining and changing. It’s important to stay patient and compassionate with them. Remember it’s not their fault and they are being gravely affected by a disease.

Find the help you need for your loved one with dementia today. Reach out to a local senior care facility, join a family support group, or talk to a doctor who specializes in end-of-life care for dementia patients.