Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Brock researchers have been working with a number of organizations across Ontario on a collaborative program called Minds in Motion.
The program is designed for people with early to mid-stage signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias and their care partners.
“Minds in Motion offers an environment that helps participants establish friendships with others who are living similar experiences,” says Suzie Lane, Professor in Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University.
“Being held in a community-based multi-service centre, the program also exposes participants to additional recreation opportunities.”
The program focuses on two essential components to help put minds in motion.
The exercise component is led by a CCAA trained physical activity program leader (generally a staff member of the recreation/seniors centre) and is followed by a social component, including ‘brain fit’ games, social interaction facilitated by a Alzheimer Society coordinator and volunteers.
The social aspect of the program was developed by prof. Suzie Lane and Applied Health Sciences grad student Laura Rolph, both of whom are Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists.
Using a therapeutic recreation framework, the program incorporates fun and interactive activities that focus on engaging participants both cognitively and socially.
The social component is considered a critical factor for success, as individuals with dementia often feel isolated because of the stigma associated with the disease.
The program will be launched the first week of April and will include 72 eight week programs that will be provided at various sites in Ontario.
“Research continues to show that physical activity and mental stimulation are good for you, and good for your brain,” reminds David Harvey, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario’s Chief Public Policy and Program Initiatives Officer.
“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 program has been funded with a Trillium Grant in the amount of $313,600 for two years. Additional funding for the program has been provided by the Ontario Brain Institute in the amount of $85,000, to help development of the program in Ontario.
The Alzheimer Society of Ontario has launched the program in collaboration with six local Alzheimer Societies:
• The Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce
• The Alzheimer Society of Hamilton Halton
• The Alzheimer Society of Waterloo Wellington
• The Alzheimer Society of London-Middlesex
• The Alzheimer Society of Sudbury-Manitoulin
• The Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay
Additional partners include the Parks and Recreation Ontario, Older Adult Centres Association of Ontario, the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, Brock University, University of Waterloo (evaluation/research lead) and the Ontario Brain Institute.
To sign-up as a volunteer with the program, or learn more about Minds in Motion, please visit mindsinmotionontario.ca
Michael T. Armstrong, Communications Officer, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5342; firstname.lastname@example.org
Pascale Guillotte, Director, Marketing and Communications, Alzheimer Society of Ontario; email@example.com