Program keeps minds in motion

A group of participants in the Minds in Motion program at the Gardens on Tenth in Altona.

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The spring session of the Minds in Motion program will be starting up again this month at the Gardens on Tenth in Altona.
The program combines physical activity, socialization and cognitive stimulation for people with early to moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia to attend with a family member or community friend.
Through the program, participants meet and socialize with other people living with dementia and their care partners.
They also enjoy mentally stimulating activities to enhance their brain health, and receive emotional and educational support about dementia and services, as needed.
This two-hour weekly program runs for eight weeks and offers a great environment to establish new friendships with others living similar experiences.
Vi Stoesz is the facilitator of the program in Altona, and in Winnipeg. She says the program was founded by the Alzheimer Society and is a joint venture between them and the community. The Alzheimer Society provides a facilitator, the Gardens on Tenth provides the fitness leader, and volunteers from the community help to run the games.
“We could not run the program without the volunteers who give their time and skills so generously.”
Participants are put into groups, involving three different categories: cognitive, physical and social.
“Cognitive is more about trivia and questions. The physical group plays bocci ball or golf, or various physical games they can enjoy. The social group often involves reminiscing and talking about past events, different topics and memories.”
These groups are run by dedicated and skilled volunteers who know how to create a engaging experience.
“The fitness component is an important part of the program. Ang Stoesz runs a 45 minute fitness session as part of the Minds in Motion program where exercises are adapted and experienced on a chair.”
She says this program is specifically designed for people who have been dealing with the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, and a loved one who sees how the program can help them maintain the skills that they already have. “This is about keeping them in community longer, enjoying what they do for a longer period of time, and being a support for their spouse or family member.”
She says there is no wrong answer in this program.
“It’s just a positive experience where everybody has a good time and has fun. Research is showing that maintaining our social skills is a huge part of preventing and managing the disease. I would encourage anyone who is affected by it to consider joining this program and see the benefits of it for yourself.”
The spring session runs every Tuesday from April 9 – May 28 at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Gardens on Tenth in Altona.
The cost per participant pair is $65. To register, please contact Gardens on Tenth, 140 10th Ave. NE. Altona, MB, 204-324-8945.
To learn more about the program, please contact: Kathy Diehl Cyr Minds in Motion program manager at mindsinmotion@alzheimer.mb.ca or alzheimer.mb.ca/mindsinmotion, 204-943-6622

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