Program offers Parksville-Qualicum Beach residents living with early-stage dementia exercise, socializing

Minds in Motion program has space available for new registrants

A six-week fitness and social program for people living with dementia in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region currently has space available for new registrants.

The Minds in Motion program, running Friday afternoons at Parksville Community Centre, is part of the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s First Link dementia support for people in the early stages of the disease and their care partner.

Co-ordinator of the program, Shanan St. Louis, has some fairly unique qualifications.

St. Louis has personal and professional experience helping people living with dementia. She worked in long-term care in Qualicum Beach and Alberta and her own family has been impacted by the disease.

That background proves invaluable in her role as co-ordinator of the Minds in Motion program in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area.

“When I plan activities, I aim to challenge participants – but always make sure what we’re doing is based in fun,” St. Louis said in a press release. “I really enjoy providing activities where family members and care partners can join in.”

Related: Boxing against Parkinson’s disease

The Minds in Motion program was developed in response to a need for opportunities for people with early-stage dementia and their care partners to stay active and engaged in their communities. Dementia can be a very isolating condition for the person living with the disease and their care partners. Minds in Motion provides an opportunity for people living with dementia to connect with others, make new friends and have fun.

It is also an opportunity for care partners to connect and form new social support networks that often extend outside of the group.

Benefits of the exercise component – led by fitness instructor Doug Pickard – include improved balance, mobility and flexibility, as well as helping to build the confidence to live well with dementia.

St. Louis encourages anyone who may be living with early stage dementia in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area to join Minds in Motion with a care partner.

“It’s an opportunity to meet other people who fully understand what you’re thinking and feeling in a safe space to have exercise and fun,” she said.

For information on Minds in Motion, or to try out a session before registering, contact St. Louis at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s North & Central Island Resource Centre at 1-800-462-2833.

If you have questions about the other services offered through First Link dementia support, call the First Link Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033 or visit alzheimerbc.org. — Submitted

—Submitted by Alzheimer Society of BC

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