(WINDSOR, ON) – With increasing evidence linking a socially involved, physically active, and mentally challenging lifestyle to helping reduce the risk of developing dementia, or slowing the progression of the disease, the Alzheimer Society of Windsor and Essex County is offering Minds in Motion to area residents.
The social program incorporates physically and mentally stimulating activities for people with early to mid-stage signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, and their care partners. The program launches October 12, and will be held for eight consecutive weeks at WECHC, in the Pickwick Plaza at 7869 Tecumseh Road East.
Minds in Motion is a two hour per week fun and family-friendly program which offers the opportunity to establish new friendships with others who are living the same experiences. Because keeping mind and body fit has been proven to contribute to improved brain health for everyone, the two main components that make up the social program will include 45 to 60 minutes of physical exercise led by a trained physical activity program leader, and 45 to 60 minutes of mentally stimulating activities facilitated by a Minds in Motion coordinator and volunteers.
“Research continues to show that physical activity and mental stimulation are good for you, and good for your brain,” said Janice Laforest, a First Link Coordinator at ASWE. “They encourage the development of new cells and new connections, a process the brain is capable of doing at any age. Not only can this slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, it can decrease the risk of developing the disease.”
The Alzheimer Society program runs for eight weeks and is offered in a community recreation centre, Older Adult Centre, or similar community-based multi-service centre, a stigma-free environment that “normalizes” the activity for participants and exposes them to additional recreational opportunities.
Minds in Motion was first launched in Ontario in the spring of 2014 and is now offered province wide.
“Bringing together people with dementia and their care partners is the opportunity to normalize the relationship in a way that is not influenced by illness,” Laforest said. “Minds in Motion helps care partners to focus on their own health as well, rather than focusing exclusively on the needs of the person they are caring for.”
Less than half of Ontario’s older adults get the recommended 2½ hours of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week. Yet, in older adults without Alzheimer’s disease, those who were very physically active were 40% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who were inactive.
Anyone can temporarily misplace reading glasses or keys. A person with Alzheimer’s could find them in odd places, could forget what numbers are, or not know where home is. Currently, 1 in 10 Ontarians over 65 lives with dementia. Minds in Motion is a reminder to the 70,000 older adults in Windsor and Essex that taking care of their hearts, minds, and bodies has the potential to decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and may slow the disease progression.