Lowers Social Isolation
Several studies have confirmed a link between loneliness and social isolation and an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. For patients living with these conditions, social isolation may happen as they lose cognitive function. Having difficulty communicating with others and struggling to remember names, faces, and events may make it difficult for dementia patients to socialize, particularly due to frustration on both ends. In addition, the fatigue and other side effects caused by dementia medications may mean patients are not able to socialize regularly. While patients with dementia may be able to continue living independently in the early stages of the disease, as the illness progresses, patients may need to be moved to a specialist memory care facility; this sometimes increases social isolation.
Pickleball represents an important opportunity for dementia and Alzheimer's patients to lower their social isolation, as it allows them to feel a sense of community and belonging. Since the game is centered around the task of hitting a ball, patients do not have to struggle with remembering faces or names; they can just enjoy being around others, even if they cannot remember their names all the time, and having fun. It is a low-stress activity patients at various stages of dementia can enjoy. Since pickleball involves little equipment and can be played indoors, it is an activity that can be easily incorporated into the social activities offered at memory care facilities and nursing homes, and patients and caregivers can have impromptu games together.
Learn more about the ways in which pickleball benefits patients with Alzheimer's disease or dementia now.