Caregivers who are looking out for people with early stage memory loss can attest to the feelings of isolation that come with the job but a new social program in the Oceanside area may help to ease their burden.
Minds in Motion is a fitness and social program designed for people diagnosed with early stage memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia and the people who spend time with them.
Central and North Vancouver Island Support and Education Co-ordinator for the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia Jane Hope said participants will enjoy light exercise conducted by a certified fitness instructor, followed by activities or games and social time in a relaxed atmosphere.
She said it doesn’t have to be the spouse of someone with Alzheimer’s who can benefit from the sessions, it can also be a friend, a son or daughter or anyone who spends time with the person.
“We hear over and over how isolated caregivers become. This allows them to have a social venue and improves their quality of life,” Hope said.
The Provincial Administrative Co-ordinator the the Alzheimer Society of BC agrees adding the sessions she has facilitated in the Victoria area have been invaluable. Mariaana Hudson said many great friendships have come out of the sessions.
“It is a way to meet other people who have the same struggles. We provide a safe environment which allows them to be themselves,” she said.
Registration started last month for the program which begins Sept. 16 and runs until Nov. 4 on Fridays from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The eight week session is $48 per couple, but if space is available, participants are encouraged to drop in and try out a free session prior to registering.
Hope said the program will be ongoing throughout the year and will be expanded into other communities within the next year. She said it is a unique program dealing specifically with memory loss which isn’t provided in other senior programs and many other communities are anxious to have it start up in their area.
While the Minds in Motion program is brand new to this area, Hudson said is has been running in 13 communities in the province with rave reviews from those participating. The program being offered in the Oceanside area is a partnership by the Seniors at Risk Integrated Health Network, Oceanside Place and the Alzheimer Society of BC. It is funded throug the Vancouver Island Health Authority, Continuing Care Services and the BC Ministry of Health Services.