There were numerous studies conducted that show benefit of exercise. The Alzheimer's Disease Rehab by Students program (Arkin, 1999) showed dramatic, positive increases in physical fitness, mood, and maintenance of function in multiple language measures, and a slower than typical decline in mental status after a year of exercise. An Italian research group (Palleschi, Vetta, Degennaro, Idone, Sottosanti, Gianni, & Marigliano, 1996) found a significant improvement on four cognitive measures after three months of aerobic exercise.
So why aren't all Alzheimer's patients flocking to the local gym or exercising with FitTV? Unfortunately, even early stage Alzheimer's patients have difficulty initiating or maintaining a new routine on their own. This means that persons with Alzheimer's need someone to encourage and support them, like an exercise coach or a workout buddy. Most primary caretakers are already too overloaded with responsibilities that come with care-taking, or they may be too old and frail to initiate an exercise regime.
If you are a family member or a friend of someone with Alzheimer's who occasionally provide respite support such as sharing a weekly meal or taking them to church, why not spend an hour longer on your visit and take a walk with them?
If this is not an option, why not find and pay for a high schooler to come by 1 hour a day, 3 times a week for a regular exercise routine? It wouldn't cost you more than $30 bucks a week, which is about the cost of a Kentucky Fried Chicken meal for a family of 4.