Minds in Motion to benefit people with dementia and their caregivers
After Yvonne Loyer was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in late 2013 the disease progressed quickly.
“It's gotten to the point where she has a hard time remembering names,” said her granddaughter and caregiver, Roxanne Coutu.
Through the Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin North Bay & District Coutu and Loyer have started a new program called Minds in Motion, which Coutu hopes can improve their quality of life.
The program, which runs for two hours per week over an eight-week period, helps give older adults with dementia the exercise and mental stimulation they need to maintain a better quality of life.
According to the Alzheimer's Society, regular physical activity for people with dementia leads to a significant reduction in depression, an increased sense of independence and an improvement in quality of life.
Less than half of Ontario’s older adults get the recommended two-and-a-half 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 per cent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who were inactive, according to the Alzheimer's Society.
Participants' caregivers and loved ones join them over the course of the eight-week program.
Coutu, who said she has her own health issues, hopes she can get in better shape while she supports her grandmother in the program.
“Both of us doing this program is going to get us both moving,” she said.
Ashley Gervais, the Minds in Motion program co-ordinator in Sudbury, said the program gives caregivers a chance to see their loved ones in an environment where they're having fun and interacting with other people.
In addition to an hour of moderate physical activity, each Minds in Motion session also includes an hour of memory games and opportunities to socialize with others who may have similar experiences.
During the first session, on April 2, participants were asked to introduce themselves and share why they decided to participate in the program.
The Minds in Motion program started in British Columbia, and Sudbury is one of six cities in Ontario to pilot the program provincially.
Jessica Lapine, a student in Cambrian College's social services program, and Minds in Motion volunteer, said she believes the program will benefit the clients and their caregivers.